I’m far enough along in the series that some plot points and villains are starting to get recycled, but everything is still so epic that I’m happy to be along for the ride.


Invincible Vol. 19: The War at Home
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Cliff Rathburn (inker)
John Rauch (colorist)
Rus Wooton (letterer)

Major warning that there’s some cannibalism at the beginning of this book. That’s usually where I put a book down, full stop. I’m not sure that it necessarily added anything to the plot, but it was a good way to represent how ridiculous the Invincibles from other universes had gotten while stranded together.

As usual, more Invincibles equals more drama. And it seemed to feed into our own Mark Grayson, because he makes some questionable decisions throughout these issues.

Proving once again that Eve is the real hero we don’t deserve, she totally calls him on it. Some meta conversation occurs in this book about the lack of powered women in contrast to the number of powered men in this world, but it makes sense: If there were more powered women, there would be significantly less drama and ridiculousness to write a fun series about.

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


Invincible Vol. 20: Friends
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler)
Cliff Rathburn (inker)
John Rauch (colorist)
Rus Wooten (letterer)

The title of this trade paperback is a complete misnomer, except that it really isn’t. The overall theme is very much how fine the line is between friends and enemies, especially when everyone has superhuman (and beyond) powers.

For once, two Invincibles is the smart and logical way to go about things rather than an excuse for absurd drama. Once Mark gets back to his home dimension, though, I’m reminded again that I’d sometimes much rather have all of this story from Eve’s perspective.

A frequent complaint about speculative fiction very much written for the masculine reader is that sometimes things get a bit “rapey.” And they definitely do in this edition, but in a way that completely flips the trope. The post-traumatic after-effects are subtle and well-presented through artwork, and I look forward to seeing how that is addressed and resolved.

As for everything else? Not much I can say without giving away all the spoilers, but things have definitely gotten REAL. Some plot threads are coming full circle, and while Kirkman might occasionally pull the old villain back to rehash some stuff, he certainly doesn’t shy away from putting his heroes through the wringer. Looking forward to jumping right into the next collection as soon as possible.

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


Invincible Vol. 21: Modern Family
Robert Kirkman (writer)
Ryan Ottley (penciler, inker)
Cliff Rathburn (inker)
Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist)
Rus Wooton (letterer)

For some reason, I took a massive break while reading this series, and this issue has been hanging out on my nightstand for literally months. But the spouse encouraged me to jump back in, and I’m excited to crank through to the ending now.

Mark is still trying to make the world fit into his narrative of black and white (right and wrong), but it’s not working out since Robot’s epic takeover. Because he has a family to think of now, he decides the better part of valor is to make a new start on a completely different planet. (Even though freaking Abe Lincoln calls him a coward for leaving, I can see both sides to the decision.)

But life on an unfamiliar planet isn’t easy, and Kirkman makes some great storytelling decisions about how adjusting to a new world and culture isn’t easy. He kicks things up a notch with the aliens and such, but overall it’s a fairly accurate story of culture shock.

Another great representation is Mark’s continued PTSD. This story line is far more than most characters in fiction get after extreme trauma, and I appreciate every moment of it (especially the gender-swapped elements). I’m really glad he finally told Eve the truth, but I’m also glad that telling her the truth did not magically fix their issues.

And… oh, Thragg. We just can’t quit you. Mark’s happily ever after away from Earth probably isn’t going to last very long.

P.S. Does Star Trek know how much they’re being parodied in this series? Because it’s still hysterical.

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

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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