Review: Invincible Volumes 1-3

 

Now that the full run of the Invincible comic series is over, it’s time to start reading the collection of trade paperbacks my husband has acquired over the years! I actually read the first few books years ago, but considering the depth of my to-be-read pile, I soon turned my attention to other series and lost track of this one. But I enjoyed what I read back then, so I’m excited for this new read-through. I’m starting at the beginning, and reviews will come in collections of three. I also intend to read other books in between each collection of 6 issues (one trade paperback) to avoid burnout and keep the adventure exciting, so these posts will be fairly sporadic. I hope you enjoy joining me on this superheroic journey!


Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters
Robert Kirkman (writer, letterer)
Cory Walker (penciler, inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)

There’re only so many ways a superhero origin story can be told, and even after literally years of obsessing over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I still enjoyed reading this one. Considering this came out prior to the start of the MCU, I appreciate that it holds up under the crush. Kirkman does a great job of assuming that his adult readers are familiar with the superhero origin and team-up tropes, and he uses that experience to create a deft story that doesn’t get bogged down in the details.

Another example of Kirkman’s crisp writing is the quick ways in which it’s apparent that Omni-Man is still WAY more powerful than Invincible without much showing OR telling.

There are nice riffs on actual logos and companies in both the writing and artwork, evoking brand recognition to convey information about characters without stepping on legal toes. However, certain things do feel dated in odd ways, such as Atom Eve’s civilian clothing and Omni-Man’s pager. It’s also interesting to read about a theft from a “Toys B We” store in the literal last days of the actual Toys R Us corporation.

This was a fun introduction to a new superhero, his family, and his team that included enough world-building to let readers know what they’re getting into without ever bogging us down with exposition. I look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.


Invincible Vol. 2: Eight is Enough
Robert Kirkman (writer, letterer)
Cory Walker (penciler, inker)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)

The introductions are over, so it’s time to jump into the meta-plot! …After a quick bout of showing how much Invincible has progressed in adapting to his powers, in a great sequence that does a lot of subliminal world-building. This is a fully formed galaxy that is not exempt from bureaucracy. (And since I actually already read the first few trades about five years ago, I’m already excited for when Allen the Alien comes back and fully joins in the shenanigans.)

Once again, this story bends expectations by giving us the traditional sequence of Mark trying to hide his abilities from his best friend, only for William to immediately see right through him. I also enjoyed the quick follow-up of the trash bag hurled in the first issue. This is one of many fun details the creators have in these issues for readers who are truly paying attention.

As Kirkman points out in the supplemental content at the end of this trade, the easiest way to give a lot of information in a small space is to employ archetype. The Justice League equivalents presented here are so obvious as to be funny rather than dumb. And the next 180 once again sucked me further into the story.

Already can’t wait to see what’s next. We’ll see how long my  decision to read a full novel in between each trade paperback, so that I don’t binge the entire series in a day, actually holds up.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.


Invincible Vol. 3: Perfect Strangers
Robert Kirkman (writer, letterer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)

Well, things have gone off the deep end, in all the best ways possible. If Mark Grayson thought becoming Invincible was a major life change, he had no idea what was coming for him. The massive revelations of Omni-Man’s role in his life were gripping. The sudden violence in the previous book wasn’t a fluke, and the complete plot turn-around sucked me in. I’m definitely in for the long haul now.

I’m a reader, so I burn through comics pretty quickly — especially fight scenes. But Ottley makes the combat so visceral that I can’t help but admire every blood-spattered panel.

But not everything is dark and grim. On the much lighter side, you can’t go wrong for me when the first panels of the book open with a Star Trek parody (and more Allen the Alien). I also adore the subtle breaking of the fourth wall, when Mark meets his comic hero. This comes full circle in an amazing artistic moment when the panels of Omni-Man’s description of how he arrived on Earth are re-used as he explains his true mission to Mark. Kirkman’s writing and Ottley’s artwork make this comic a real power-house.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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One thought on “Review: Invincible Volumes 1-3

  1. Pingback: May Wrap-Up & June Goals | J.L. Gribble Online

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