The world of Robert Kirkman means big business these days, just look at AMC’s hit The Walking Dead, still pulling in the viewers after six seasons, with seemingly no ending in sight. Kirkman has recently expanded his TV world with the release of Cinemax’s Outcast. However, what about Kirkman’s super-hero epic Invincible?In a world saturated by Arrow, Gotham and Powers, do we really need another super-show…in short, yes, and Invincible is that show!
The story follows Mark Grayson, a high-school boy whose father is Omni-Man, the world’s greatest hero. Mark deals with your usual high-school drama of exams and girls, but Mark eventually comes to terms with the fact that he too has powers – think of it like Spider-Man: Homecoming with buckets of blood! Grayson leads a Teen Titans-esque team, ironically named the Teen Team, and populated by characters called Robot, Dupli-Kate, Rex Splode, and Atom Eve. Sure the high-school setting is nothing new, and we even had Disney flop Sky High in 2005, but done right and you can have something that is more Buffy than Sweet Valley High
The only thing you can compare Invincible to is a modern Watchmen, that packs as much violence into its pages as it does storytelling. The first volume sets itself up as your average superhero story, but after the second and third volumes, the horror really ramps up. Perhaps the most controversial theme comes during issue #110, in which Mark is attacked by anti-hero Anissa. After a brief battle, she knocks him to the ground and proceeds to rape him with graphic detail. On a par with Robin’s ‘death’ in “A Death in the Family”, it is unnerving to see a young superhero subjected to such violence.
With a man like Kirkman behind the title, Invincible was never going to be a stroll in the park – Invincible isn’t exactly as bad as , but it isn’t far off! If teen rape isn’t your bag, then there is plenty of blood soaked pages in the comic too and fights make The Punisher vs. Wolverine scenes seem tame. Pick up a copy and you should expect to see teeth and bones fly. Grayson again falls flat in the luck department, with one of the biggest battles seeing him actually go up against his own father. On the other side is Invincible‘s biggest foe, a bloodthirsty alien named Conquest, who is set on destroying the planet. Conquest quite literally punches a hole through Grayson’s girlfriend Atom-Eve whilst she burns his skin off. Eve serves as no Gwen Stacy and was brought back the next issue, but that isn’t the point. However, even hole punching villains has nothing on Invincible #7, proving that Omni-Man serves as one of the series’s most interesting characters. No. 7 is an early issue that throws one hell of a huge curveball at us. If properly played out on screen it would certainly deliver a ‘Red Wedding’, WTF moment. Invincible introduces us to the Guardians of the Globe – Kirkman’s direct parody of the Justice League. There is Black Samson (Doc Samson), The Immortal (Superman), Darkwing (Batman), War Woman (Wonder Woman), Red Rush (Flash), Aquarus (Aquaman), Martian Man (Martian Manhunter), and The Green Ghost (Green Lantern)! Don’t get too attached though, after just 18 pages Omni-Man enters their hideout and slaughters (almost) the entire team. An arching storyline means that Omni-Man is eventually outed by his son and flies away from Earth for some time. Imagine a season finale of Omni-Man and Mark’s showdown, a few season’s absence, and then the triumphant return of Omni-Man. Game of Thrones character returns would have nothing on that!
The Neverending Story
Sounding good so far? How long could a show like this run for? Kirkman was recently a little peeved with Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin, mainly critical that the writer had revealed the planned ending of his books to showrunners Benioff and Weiss. Kirkman told :