Back Issues: "Invincible" #1-13
- by ReuBen DeBord, 23 July 2016
Hey there, Trash Muties! Most of the time, when you’re reading my words, they’re about movies or television related pop culture. But I’m also a huge comic book fan, and today, I want to talk to you about a comic book series that I have a love hate relationship with, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible! Specifically, I want to talk about the first 13 issues, which are collected in the first Ultimate Collection, which is how I read these issues. The book is written by Robert Kirkman, with art duties provided by Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley.
Now you might initially think that this premise has been played out. In addition to all of those examples I mentioned, this series started just a couple of years after Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley began work on Ultimate Spider-Man at Marvel Comics. So if you were reading Ultimate Spider-Man, and you liked it but you didn’t think that you needed 2 series’ with such similar premises both in your pull box, or maybe you didn’t like Ultimate Spider-Man, so the premise of Invincible doesn’t appease you, well then, let me tell you, there is more to this than meets the eye.
Like I said, the series takes its time setting up the supporting cast and premise. Usually, I get angry when nothing seems to happen in a series, or when it takes way too long for something to happen (looking at you, Bendis), but in this case, the creators are establishing the series. In the 1990s, it felt like there were hundreds of new superhero stories coming out all the time, but so many of them are forgotten today because they didn’t take the time to set up supporting cast and setting. You know, the things that are pretty important to make a series go.
But if all of this still sounds very bleh to you, I haven’t mentioned the big thing that happens in this series. Mark’s dad, you know, the greatest hero of this world, who is not so subtly Superman. Well, it turns out he’s actually evil. Kirkman and crew spend an entire issue, issue 7, introducing us to the Guardians of the Globe, who are not so subtly the Justice League of America. We see all of them in their personal lives getting a summons to meet at headquarters…where they are all brutally murdered by Mark’s dad Omni-Man! Bum bum bum!
Earlier in the series, we got an origin story for Omni-Man, where he tells us that he comes from an advanced civilization devoted to improving other worlds. He volunteered to come to Earth alone, because his species didn’t have enough man-power to help Earth. He became a superhero, began working for the US Government to more effectively protect the planet, and eventually married Mark’s mother. But after Omni-Man murders the Guardians of the Globe, we eventually find out Mark’s father is a scout from an alien race devoted to conquering planets. And now that Mark’s powers have bloomed, Omni-Man believes it’s time to get Earth ready for the coming of his species. And he starts by killing the world’s greatest superhero team.
Even though it takes half a year to get to the real premise of this series, in my humble, it’s totally worth it. By that point, you’ve had plenty of chances to get to know Mark, his Dad, and get comfortable, just in time for the creators to pull the rug out from under you. I truly believe if Kirkman and crew didn’t do this Omni-Man is evil story, the series would’ve faded into obscurity. The issues before the Omni-Man reveal aren’t bad, but they are pretty typical teen-superhero stuff that you’ve seen before. The series didn’t have much of an identity of its own before issue 7. But I still feel the first 6 issues are necessary so we can come to care about Mark, his Dad, Atom Eve, and this world, before everything changes.
After this, we get a few issues where nobody knows who killed the Guardians, then one of them, The Immortal (the only one in the bunch who ISN’T a knock-off of a member of the Justice League), comes back to life (naturally), and he attacks Omni-Man. This leads to Invincible and Omni-Man’s bosses finding out the truth about his intentions for the planet. We get a big gruesome fight scene, but Omni-Man can’t bring himself to kill his own son, so he flees. This is where the real status quo of the series kicks in: Mark replaces his father as the Government’s official protector of the planet, and he still has to balance life as a teenager getting ready for college with his newly complicated life as a superhero.
Invincible has been going on for over 100 issues, and over 10 years by this point. But out of everything I’ve read so far, I still think the first year of this run is the best. The buildup to the Omni-Man reveal is flawless, and the vibe that this is so much like old-school superhero comics that I miss so much is great, too. There’s a lot more to this series that I feel is worth talking about, but that shall have to wait for another day, as this article is just about the first 13 issues of this series. So long story short, you should check out this series, either the first 2 trade-paperbacks, or the first Ultimate Collection. If you like superheroes, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! And if you’re curious what I think about the rest of the series, expect a few more back-issue dissections of the later parts of this series in the coming weeks! In the meantime, keep it trashy, muties!
There's more "Invincible" Back Issues coming, so stay tuned! How do you feel the initial issues hold up? Let us know in the comments!