TPB: Invincible HC 1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley
Robert Kirkman is a man who needs no introduction. From Walking Dead to the Irredeemable Antman to Thief and Thieves to Battle Pope, he has proven himself as one of the heavyweights of the comics industry. Cory Walker, with whom Kirkman co-created Invincible with, is relatively new to the industry and only worked on two issues of the Irredeemable Ant-man. Ottley is another virtual unknown, having only worked in webcomics before being brought onto this title.
Mark Grayson has known since he was seven that his father was the world’s greatest hero, Omni-Man. Mark also knows that once he reached a certain age, his own powers would start to develop. Having powers similar to Superman’s, Omni-Man saves the world on a nearly daily basis thanks to his government handlers who alert him to any global danger. When Mark finally receives his birthright, he is thrilled to have what he has waited almost his whole life to receive but he quickly learns that much of what he thinks he knows about his life and his family may be nothing but a pack of lies.
The story here is one of wish fulfillment turned sour. Kirkman does an excellent job of making Mark an everyman that most comic book readers can relate to. He’s a high school kid who just wants to get into a good college, hang out with his friends, and impress the pretty girl in the class. As his path diverges farther and farther from what he believed his future would be like, he struggles to cope with the reality of growing up.
The art has been widely hailed as great but I found several nick picky things that I didn’t like throughout. The art isn’t as detailed as I prefer, you can sometimes lose the protagonist in overcrowded panels or have to squint for him in distant shots. Close-ups on people’s faces inevitably center around a weird circle that seems present on every character’s nose. Sparse panels that take place in space or in the sky seem excellent with tight lines but those lines blur and lose quality when the panel is depicting, say, the rubble of a destroyed building.
Overall the quality of the storytelling is more than enough to make up for the somewhat lackluster art. The later volumes often borrow familiar themes and tropes from superhero stories, often inventively turning them on their heads. As the series comes to a close with issue #144, after 13 years, it is definitely time for anyone who has not yet picked up this book to see what they've been missing.
Final rating (out of 5):