Review: Invincible Volumes 4-6

My husband has been reading over my shoulder so that I fully appreciate what I’m absorbing. It’s fun to point out cool panels and discuss things with him.

Invincible Vol. 4: Head of the Class
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)
Rus Wooten (letterer)

This collection of issues felt like a pause in the grand scheme of things — except absolutely not. I kind of wish the first issue had been more about Mark’s mother Debbie, to get more of her perspective on things. It’s heartbreaking to see her fall apart from Mark’s eyes instead. Obviously we haven’t seen the last of Omni-Man, but his family has to pick up the pieces in the meantime.

But time doesn’t stop. These issues threw A LOT of subplots at us in a short span of time. Some big, some small — so small that they’re woven in with just a few panels. Right now I trust Kirkman not to let any of these balls drop, but he’s juggling a whole lot of them.

As an aside, alternate universe stories are my catnip, so I’m really excited to see what Angstrom Levy’s story is about. Is he a villain, or a hero?

Mark is still our main guy, but I didn’t really feel much emotionally for him. He’s just kinda doing his thing, balancing graduating high school and saving the world over and over again. His mom and his girlfriend, on the other hand… step it up, Mark. You’re a hero now.

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

Invincible Vol. 5: The Facts of Life
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)
Run Wooten (letterer)

This book wasn’t a disappointment by far, but it didn’t measure up to what I had come to expect from these titles.

Dating a superhero isn’t easy, a trope that has existed as long as the genre has been around. Unfortunately, Mark’s girlfriend Amber is an incredibly one-dimensional character, which makes it hard for me to really care about their relationship angst. I’m not quite sure what the appeal was of an entire issue of recapping Mark’s exploits as his big reveal to Amber. So that readers could watch Amber swoon over him? This was a rather unfortunate reminder that, as a woman, I’m not necessarily the target audience for this series. With the departure of Eve off on her own grand adventure, there’s no longer a superhero main character to act as a stand-in for the female reader. I’d much rather have more than one page to see what she’s up to these days.

(As an aside, this entire series has yet to pass the Bechdel test. Step it up, Kirkman.)

But back to the story: A whole issue on Allen the Alien to show what’s going on in the rest of the galaxy! Luckily, plot can happen there while Mark is busy having feelings at his cardboard love interest.

The Angstrom Levy plot is also progressing nicely! Still no way to tell whether he’s heading toward the hero or villain role, but his latest character transition starts to narrow it down pretty well. But even as this plot line is narrowing, others are being introduced. It was pretty obvious that a certain college student was a villain from the start, and even though he seems comical on the surface, his actions are quite horrific and tragic already. I often have to force myself to stop and look at the artwork rather than just skipping from panel to panel as I absorb the words, and this story line is a great example of why that is important and necessary in this series.

The quick backstories of other superheroes included at the end were fun, and introduced a few other mysteries that I hope are followed through on.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Invincible Vol. 6: A Different World
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Cliff Rathburn (inker)
Bill Crabtree (colorist)
Rus Wooten (letterer)

This volume starts off with two interesting bangs. First, after everything Mark has seen and done since becoming a superhero, I find it absolutely hilarious that a cartoon character come to life does him in. Second, a shocking reunion takes a surprising turn. Once again, Kirkman steps outside traditional storyline expectations to create emotional depth.

I had a great time with this epic adventure on another planet, especially since the graphic novel medium allows writers to bring such an alien planet to life. I also appreciate that, with this particular adventure, Mark stuck to his (metaphorical) guns to do what he thought was right, rather than letting himself be fully manipulated by the government.

Back on Earth, of course, the usual subplots hum along. What is Robot up to??

And finally, perhaps my getting tired of Amber isn’t my failing as a reader after all. This entire volume set up the ending perfectly, as Mark’s experience on an alien planet gives him a new perspective on the future of his relationship with his girlfriend.

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

One thought on “Review: Invincible Volumes 4-6

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

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