Sunday, January 09, 2005

"Superman...Spider-Man style" - Invincible

I should let it be known that I was probably one of the few readers out there that honestly was looking forward to Invincible, when it was released from Image a couple of years ago.

I had read a Super Patriot mini-series from the same creative team as Invincible, Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, and I thought it was very good.

Walker, especially.

I saw his stuff, and said, "It'd be a damned shame if this guy does not become a popular artist."

So when Image did their big superhero launch, I was pleased to see the two of them together as the creative team for one of the books.

Here, I'll discuss the first trade in the Invincible series, "Family Matters," which collects #1-4 (in a move that is either funny or stupid, each trade is named after a notable TV sitcom).

The star of the series is Mark Grayson, who is the son of the most famous superhero on Earth, Omni-Man.

Mark, upon hitting puberty, discovers his own super powers that come from the fact that he is the son of his alien father, and becomes the superhero known as Invincible.

Mark has the power of Superman (and the good public image of Superman), but all the same secret identity/adolescent problems that Peter Parker had (only not as bad as Peter has least not in this first trade).

I was about the describe the plot of the issues collected in the trade, but to be honest, the overarching plot of the series really does not get kicking until the end of the second trade, and then REALLY in the third trade, so why bother spoiling stuff when there is not really anything to "spoil"?

Oh...he fights some bad guys!

I bet you did not expect THAT to happen!

Ooooh...he meets other heroes!


So yeah, the plot of the first trade is not a big deal, as the issues really stand out because of the characterization of the people inside the book, and the dialogue of Robert Kirkman.

He nails the teen vibe, but he also nails the parent talk, that is important to these things. And the amount of little throwaway references is amazing.

And, of course, the dynamite art of Cory Walker (who, naturally, only lasts until #8 before he is snatched away) does not hurt either.

Invicible is one of the last vestige of just pure fun superhero comics. And, like Amazing Spider-Man in the early years, the character of Mark DOES grow as the series progresses and things actually CHANGE.

And regarding the undoubtable comparisons to Ultimate Spider-Man, let meassure you that, in this title, things actually HAPPEN. Mark's development into Invincible occurs within one half of #1, so you do not have to wait 36 issues before he puts his costume on.

One other cool/stupid (depending on how you look at it, I guess) thing about the book is the superhero names themselves. Kirkman has hit upon the idea of having people's names work into the superhero name. So you get stuff like Atom Eve.

You either think it is clever, or dumb.

I like it...but either way, it's a notable affectation of the book.

So go out, collect this book!

Especially if you like superheroes!


Blogger Lex said...

I really wasn't interested in Images superhero offerings aside from Noble Causes... and NC isn't really a superhero story at all. I kept hearing good things about Invincible, but just didn't feel like getting into it. I love what Kirkman has doen on Marvel Team-Up, so checking out Invincible has been tickling the back of my mind lately.

I just read that an upcoming issue is a "jump-on" point for new readers. And it's 50 cents! So, I'm looking forward to getting that issue and hopefully liking it enough to buy the trades.

1/09/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I can personally attest to the "jump-on-ability" of Invisible. I literally just picked it up a few months ago and asked Alex what he thought. "You're not reading that?!? It's great!" One issue later, I was hooked. Though there is an overarching theme or two, you can understand the individual comics by themselves usually.

I've little else to add other than my heartiest of recommendations.

1/09/2005 08:19:00 PM  
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