Back Issues: "Invincible" #60-70
- by ReuBen DeBord, 25 February 2017
Hey folks, it’s been a little while since I’ve talked about comics, so that’s what I’m going to do today! As I’ve done in the past, I’ll be talking about the creator owned comic Invincible, published by Image Comics, written by Robert Kirkman, with art by Ryan Ottley and Corey Walker! This chunk of issues I’ll be talking about today is issues 60-70 and Invincible Returns 1, all collected in a nice and neat package called Invincible Ultimate Collection volume 6!
I really love time travel, and I really love alternate realities. I can’t get enough of either. And this series has sorta dabbled in both before issue 60, but showing us a whole bunch of Invincibles who are all evil in different ways is a really cool “aw yeah, things are about to hit the fan” kind of moment, but it’s great for another reason. Ever since Invincible found out his Dad was evil (who has since reformed), he has dealt with feelings that he might turn evil himself someday. And seeing actual versions of himself who did go to the dark side just fans the flames of his self-doubt, which makes him an even more human character. That’s really cool, and in my humble, it’s just what this series needed.
Speaking of Invincible’s character moments, ever since issue 52, Invincible has been wrestling with the idea of if he should kill his villains or not. His younger brother Oliver has no problems killing, and even encourages Invincible to do so. In issue 52, Invincible admits that sometimes, he thinks that his dad’s villain monologue from issue 7 makes sense to him. Since admitting this, he’s gone down the dark path a little bit. Immediately after the Invincibles from alternate realities trash our planet, Conquest, a really mean and nasty Viltrumite, comes to take the planet from Invincible. After believing that he has witnessed his girlfriend die, Invincible kills Conquest. Or at least he thinks he has. His former boss who is a completely useless idiot keeps Conquest in a cage which doesn’t do anything to keep Conquest trapped, and Conquest leaves the planet. But as of now, Invincible thinks that guy is still dead.
Then there’s a followup to the almost Sequid Invasion from Mars back in the late 30s and early 40s. The astronaut who Shapesmith foolishly left on Mars, and then everyone thought they had rescued him. Turns out he had a Sequid in his stomach, and he regrew a Sequid army. This time the city of Houston is almost destroyed in the invasion attempt. Invincible, thinking that there is no other way to defeat the sequids, kills the innocent astronaut human host. And then in issue 68, Invincible almost kills a baddie I’m sure we’ll see more of, Dinosaurus.
This is all very interesting because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a character so on the fence about killing like I have here. Usually, in all the stories I see, a character is like the Punisher, where all they do is kill and they don’t see anything wrong with it. Or they are like Batman (or like he is portrayed 90 percent of the time), and they see killing as the worst thing ever, and it’s something you should never do. I can’t think of a time where I’ve seen a character who has killed a few people and then decided that they didn’t like it, and wanted to go back to being a non-killing machine. After almost killing Dinosaurus, Invincible decides his black and blue costume which he’s worn for about 20 issues needs to go, and he needs to go back to his yellow and blue costume. I call a little bit of shenanigans on this, because he was wearing his old costume when he thought he had killed Angstrom Levy, so this whole idea that the Black and Blue costume represents the dark killer he’s become doesn’t exactly work. But since Angstrom didn’t actually die (come to think of it, the only person Invincible actually successfully killed was the Astronaut), I guess it is a moot point anyway.
Anyhoo, this chunk of issues ends with Invincible getting a pep talk from his former boss Cecil, who is still an unrepentant poop-chute, but what Cecil says here isn’t entirely wrong. People like Darkwing temporarily went crazy and killed a few bad guys, but then he redeemed himself and died protecting the planet. Invincible, in the same way, went a little overboard killing the Astronaut (the only kill that I feel was unjustified, under the circumstances, as both Angstrom Levy and Conquest had put Invincible in between a rock and a hard place when he thought he had killed them. The Astronaut was just Invincible thinking “eh, I’m a killer now, might as well go through with it.), but Cecil says that he doesn’t have to keep going down this path.
Where this whole pep talk loses me a little bit is that Cecil also tries to compare Invincible to DA Sinclair, the mad scientist who experimented on Invincible’s friend Rick Sheridan. Cecil tries to feed Invincible the bogus story about how Sinclair really isn’t a bad guy, he’s just done bad things. Except that the difference between Invincible and Sinclair is that Invincible made a snap decision and after he reflected on it, he realized it was a wrong decision. But Sinclair ruined Sheridan’s life, and Sheridan has to live with that, while Sinclair seems to have gotten completely off the hook for that, and gets to live a cushy life building zombie robots for the Government. You can’t accidentally kidnap someone and turn them into a zombie robot. To me, this whole “you don’t have to continue being a killer and you don’t have to let what you’ve done ruin the rest of your life” would have worked a little better if they hadn’t tried to bring DA Sinclair into the equation. But overall, I do like where they took Invincible during this extended arc. His decision that killing is necessary and then realizing he didn’t like what it was doing to him was all very interesting, and felt very real and natural. And now that Conquest is still alive and, uh oh, Invincible is being dragged off by his dad to fight in a war against the Viltrumites, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Invincible deals with his new determination not to kill any more.
Overall, this group of issues is maybe my favorite since the first 13 issues. I don’t think any group of issues in this whole series will ever top those initial 13, but this came pretty close. Really great action-packed plot that never felt fluffy and unnecessary, like it has before in this series, and some really fantastic character stuff for our protagonist, also. If this is an indication of where the series is heading after this, I eagerly look forward to what comes next.
In any case, I hope you guys enjoyed hearing me ramble, and I hope you’ll check out some other stuff I’ll have to say in the future. In the meantime, keep it trashy, muties!
Read past "Invincible" issue reviews:
- Invincible #1-13
- Invincible #14-24
- Invincible #25-35
- Invincible #36-47
- Invincible #48-59