Written By: Marcus Munoz
SUPERHEROES, SUPERVIOLENT, SUPERWEIRD, & SUPERGREAT
If you didn’t already know, the Invincible comic series was written by Robert Kirkman, the same guy who wrote ‘The Walking Dead’ graphic novel series. Kirkman has a talent for creating captivating storylines with effective character development – his trademark stamp is the overt gore – which, personally, I’m a fan of. Invincible does more than challenge the conventional depictions of superhero-esque media. It illustrates a robust storyline with relatable characters and without the budget constraints of a live-action adaptation – and if you’ve seen the show, you know what I mean.
I went into this not knowing anything about the comics or the heroes shown, and now I’m dying to see them back for season two. Guts, glory, and all.
Episode 1 Shock
What a mind-blowing first episode (literally). We were introduced to our roster of main characters from Debbie, Omni-Man, Invincible, Cecil, and, who we thought were going to be the focal point of the show, Guardians of the Globe. This is where it gets a little more complicated…
During the whole episode, we’re treated to some fun character backstories featuring Mark Grayson AKA Invincible, and his parents Debbie Grayson and Nolan Grayson AKA Omni-Man. Mark is eager to discover his new powers while navigating the tumultuous journey of high school. In another part of the country, after a mission to defeat a pair of cloned super villains, The Guardians of the Globe are alerted back to home base to find they have been ambushed by…wait for it… OMNI-MAN?! Yeah, take that in for a second. If you didn’t read like comics like me, you wouldn’t have expected the kind, nurturing father figure to literally go ape-**** on our would-be main characters – but he does.
What I love about the integration of these characters is that they’re voiced by many fan favorites of The Walking Dead televised series, such as Lauren Cohan, Ross Marquand, Sonequa Martin-Green, Chad Coleman, Lennie James, and Michael Cudlitz. It’s only poetic that Kirkman would bring them back just to die more brutally than they did in the show. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. THEY. ALL. DIED. Every last one of them (The Immortal, kinda, sorta), in the most brutal way possible. Trust me, I’m not averse to gore, but in this scene, I had to pause to collect my jaw off the floor. Needless to say, episode one had me hooked and ready for a long afternoon of straight binging.
Props to the casting director of Invincible – every single voice-over role was filled perfectly. When I say perfectly, I mean there is no other cast I would substitute with, in my opinion. For starters, you have Steven Yeun, Walking Dead alumni, and a recent Oscar nominee, voicing Invincible. Sandra OH-MY-GOD-NEED-I-SAY-MORE as Debbie, and the iconic J.K Simmons as Omni-Man. I mean...wow. Beyond that holy trinity of talent, the series also features notable stars like Zachary Quinto, Mahershala Ali, Gillian Jacobs, Seth Rogan, and Mark-freaking-Hamill himself. If that isn’t enough of a reason to check this series out, I don’t know what is.
You can argue that, yes, this is in fact another show based on superheroes, and, yes, at this point you probably have superhero fatigue. But stay with me on this, because the story is worth it. With only 40 minutes on average per episode, you would think that the character development would be skewed with all the other elements of the showing going on, but you would be wrong. The Grayson family, plus characters like Atom Eve and Robot, get a ton of space to flesh out their backstories while exploring their interconnected relationship with the rest of the cast. Some might say that this show reminds them of The Boys, with a satirical approach to the typical Justice League trope. While I agree with part of that statement, I don’t believe it does the show justice in terms of its depth and scope. Sure, there’s gore (which we’ll get to) and sure, there is a merry band of high-strung superheroes, but what this show does is shed light on what life could look like for superhumans, and how their actions would affect the lives of others.
Ah yes, the gore. I did not expect that turn of events AT ALL. My dinner and I were not prepared to sit through those 5 minutes of absolute brutality in episode one. Trust me when I say, that was nowhere near what the rest of the season had in store. I think for some this might be one of the more challenging aspects of the show to digest. However, I think what this does is allow viewers to really see and understand the impact a fight between two superhumans, or an alien invasion has on the general population. With most superhero films or TV, the fights show a ton of destruction but, oddly enough, no civilian casualties. Seems a little bit strange when multiple skyscrapers are crashing down – you’d think someone might get caught in that. In Invincible, you see the bone-shattering, hallowed shrieking agony of regular people doing regular things. In one scene, Invincible attempts to help an elderly woman caught in the fray of a battle but instead mangles her body while trying to rescue her because he doesn’t fully realize how strong he is. It’ll put things into perspective and make you think, do you REALLY want to be saved by superman? (Don’t answer that because the answer is always yes)
Season 2 Expectations & Final Thoughts
If at this point you’ve watched all the way to the end, you might have noticed a couple of key characters featured throughout the season that seem to be plotting their return in season 2. From the Mauler Twins, Titan, Battle Beast, and D.A Sinclair – it seems like Invincible will have a lot on his plate, probably more than he can handle. Here’s hoping Omni-Man makes his return back to earth, but with a little less of an apocalyptical & tyrannical mindset.