“Invincible” is one of those books that I always meant to read, but never got around to. Once it passed the 100-issue mark, I thought all hope was lost. However, this issue marks the beginning of a “bold”, “startling” new arc that is supposed to appeal to both new readers and horror fans, so I thought I’d jump in to see what all the fuss is about. Although not entirely an introductory issue, “Invincible” is a violent ride that does not let down.
Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley want to make this arc an easy access point for new readers, which is no easy feat for a book that is over 100 issues into its run. They don’t waste time running through exposition, but rather attempt to present you with the new world that both the reader and the character find themselves in. You get the bare bones of what you need to know in the first few pages, but it isn’t enough. As far as I can tell, Invincible is in a new dimension and must stop Rex, a robotic force of nature, before he ruins everything. There is also another villain manipulating from a space station, but I have no idea who he is. While I was never entirely lost, I was never fully aware of what was going on either. I hope Kirkman manages to slow the pace a bit in the next issue now that the hooks are in place.
They also waste no time getting to the blood and violence. The opening sequence is as ruthless as any “Walking Dead” issue, and the best part is it doesn’t feel out of place in the superhero world they’ve created. Kirkman’s quick script balances tight actions sequences with important talking head conversations. Just when the dialogue verges on too much, he pulls the rug out and goes for ultraviolence. I mean, this stuff is brutal. It’s rare for a comic to be able to surprise with a page turn, and Kirkman pulls it off wonderfully several times in this issue alone. But, what Kirkman does best is balance the violence with emotion. The violence is harsh, but it affects the characters deeply.
Ryan Ottley delivers the artwork like a pro. It is evident that he has been drawing these characters for over 100 issues because the confidence in his line work shines through in every panel. There is not a single misstep, bad line, or awkward expression. He draws interior backgrounds as well as he does giant space stations. The paneling is also stellar, allowing the action to flow with the speed that Kirkman’s script demands.
While I have never read a single issue of “Invincible” prior to this, I will definitely be reading more. The book mostly delivers on what it promises: a new, bloody start for the series. Let’s just hope I’m not entirely lost by the end of this arc.