In honor of the upcoming 100th issue of Invincible, the critically acclaimed superhero series by Robert Kirkman, I’m going to read it all for the first time. All of it. My journey will take me through hardcover collections, trade paperbacks, single issues, and more. My goal: to read and review the entire series before issue 100 drops in January. You might be interested and want to learn more about the book, or know the history so you can pick up issue 100, or maybe you just want to relive your Invincible favorite moments; for whatever reason, this is the article to read.
Today’s post will cover Invincible issues 1-13. I don’t own all the single issues (that would be my preferred way to read the series) so instead I’m starting with the Invincible: Ultimate Collection hardcover series. Not bad as far as hardcover collections go: the colors are still great, some nice extras in the back including concept art and original scripts, and the page size is fine (slightly larger than a regular comic’s pages).
These first issues introduce us to Mark, the average high-school student with a family way cooler than yours. His father is the most powerful superhero in the world, Omni-Man, who spends his days fighting crime, saving the world from disaster, but always making it home in time for a homemade lasagna dinner. Mark’s inherited powers emerge in the first issue, and from there we see the ascent of the new hero Invincible into the ranks of the world’s elite.
Maybe the best thing about this book is that it subverts the normal superhero clichés you expect in a comic. The line “with great power comes great responsibility”, the echoed burden of every superhero ever, has no place in these opening issues. Mark’s just a good kid with superpowers, so there’s no crisis of faith or inner turmoil that comes with his flight and strength and speed. Instead of scenes with Mark agonizing over being a hero, we just get to see him be a hero. There are other scenes that just surprise you, like when Mark reveals at the dinner table he’s finally developing powers. His mother’s reaction in exact words is: “That’s nice. Can you pass the potatoes?”
Issue 7 introduces a darker tone to the series when the Guardians of the Globe (stand in’s for DC’s Justice League) are murdered. And who’s the murder? Mark’s dad, Omni-Man. This sets up the most memorable moment of the early issues; the moment where Mark finds out his father is an alien from the planet Viltrumite, sent here to remove any obstacles to a Viltrumite invasion, and that’s why he had to kill the Earth’s heroes. Mark doesn’t take the reveal well, and the ensuing fight between father and son is brutal and epic. It’s a superhero fight drawn by an artist who obviously loves superhero fights. That final page, where Omni-Man flies into space because he doesn’t have it in him to finish off his son, is everything this series aspires to be.
This is a superhero story that mixes the reality of having superpowers with what every little kid always imagined having powers would be like. Should you be reading Invincible? You should if you like superheroes. Even if the tights aren’t your thing I think you can make an exception for the smart character design and unique plotting this series brings. Stay tuned for the next installment of The Complete Invincible Review, where we take a look at issues 14-24. See you then.