Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A
Written and Lettered by: Robert Kirkman
Penciled and Inked by: Ryan Ottley
Colored by: Bill Crabtree
Publisher: Image Comics
If you don’t know the name Robert Kirkmanâ€¦if you don’t read any of his booksâ€¦if you aren’t privy to the talentâ€¦be warned the next mega-writer in the comic industry is out thereâ€¦quietly plying his tradeâ€¦but he will soon rule comic world. Hell, Kurt Busiek even said it in the foreword to the trade paperback collection, Invincible: Family Matters. So, do yourself a favor and pick up one of Mr. Kirkman’s many fine works! I can’t imagine you being disappointed!
Invincible is an amalgamation of everything that’s good in the superhero genre and one step beyond. Mark Grayson is the son of Omni-Man (a Superman-level superhuman), and he’s just recently begun to develop his father’s powers. Many of the superhero moments are almost blasÃ©. His dad’s as powerful as they come, he’s a teenager that grew up most of his life expecting these powers to come and he’s got a mother that’s dealt with her husband’s many secrets for years, so we’re talking about a very fresh relationship.
I hate reading comics full of wasted space and devoid of character development. Yet, I am a big fan of superhero/villain conflicts. Robert Kirkman continues to juggle a variety of subplots within the storyline, but always moves things forward. Even though there is a ton of characterization within the issue, Kirkman allows the book to revel in being a superhero adventure. There’s a fine line between action and dialogue in any superhero comic, but Kirkman always hits the perfect middle ground, which is the truly fantastic skill in his writing.
Throughout the course of each month’s issue, Robert Kirkman usually finds a way to riff on different forms of pop-culture. Last month, we got some great moments about zombie films, while this month, we get the best riff yet–Kirkman has Mark Grayson take his weekly journey to the comic shop. When he gets there we have a Mallrats-esque moment when Mark finds out that his favorite creator is signing autographs. Mark in mid-panel super speeds home and returns with a short-box full of his Science Dog comics. When Mark gets there, the creator isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Very humorous stuff.
Of course, Mark’s journey to the comic shop is only a small part of the tale. Kirkman also gives us two outstanding superhero/supervillain clashes that encapsulate everything I love about this type of comic entertainment. The brawl at the foot of Mt. Rushmore between Invincible (Mark) and Doc Seismic opens up the issue with a bang. Witty banter abounds between the pair. Kirkman also gives us some fun action with Omni-Man as well, leading to a long-building revelation at issue’s end. A long brewing subplot appears ready to explode. Big changes are certainly afoot!
Ryan Ottley recently replaced co-creator Cory Walker on Invincible. Ottley has done a unbelievable job continuing Walker’s vision of the series, but also making it his own. Ottley captures the fantastic, the blood and guts, and the mundane equally well. The colors by Bill Crabtree nail down this weird, but realistic world, and are possibly the finest in the industry.
All told, the finest moments of Invincible center on the relationships that Mark has and the way he interacts with the world. As unrealistic as a superhero book can get, this is one of the most down to earth books when it comes to the characters. They feel like living breathing individuals. They take their world in stride like most people when it comes to their line of work. It’s difficult living as a superhero, but there’s also a great deal of fun. Other than the fact that he dresses in tights and battles forces of evil, Mark’s life is very similar to most other high schoolers,
A notable mention: Also available this week is the series second trade paperback, Invincible: Eight is Enough (collecting issues 5-8). If you’re a fan of great characterization and amazing superhero action give the series a look!