Written By: Robert Kirkman
Art By: Ryan Ottley
One of the things that keeps me comparing “Invincible” to every other book is that “Invincible” just consistently makes smart choices. It communicates to readers through language that it thoroughly understands and knows what tropes of comic books to embrace and what tropes to buck. In a world of big events happening every two months, with big company crossovers no longer being rare, “Invincible” takes a story that has been done over and over, but finds a way to reinvent itself and reinvigorate the medium. In other words, it’s good. But what if it wasn’t good? What if one day I picked up an issue and had to see “Invincible” was not Invincible? Well, allow me to take you back to issue 100…
The year was 2013 and Image Comics was going bananas. It was a party and everyone was invited; “Invincible” had run for 99 heart stopping issues and it was time for issue #100. Mark Grayson had lived through so much. He’d gained powers, lost a father, got a super hero team, and all this before he graduated high school. His life was so storied, so monumental—for goodness sake he’d taken on a race of Gods and come out the victor. But this was issue 100, this was different. According to solicitations, this was the issue where everyone died. What lied in store for Mark Grayson?
Well everyone didn’t die, that’s for sure. Yes, there was a flood that killed a lot of civilians, on and off panel. But named characters? Heroes? There was less than one percent dead characters. By that I mean those covers. With the piles of dead super heroes? Piles? Didn’t happen. Not even close. This represented something that “Invincible” would never do to its audience. It lied. Don’t try and tell me it’s part of comic book hype or that it didn’t technically lie. And to top it all off, they faked Mark’s death, a depraved act deserving the most severe eye roll. “Invincible” had never resorted to distorting the truth to make more sales because it stood on the quality of its own writing. The story was always incredible enough to bring us back and get us to tell our friends. Why cheapen that? Why resort to tactics that we make fun of the big two publishers for? Instead we get treated to a verbal confrontation between Dinosaurus and Invincible.
Mark has always had a way of turning tropes on their head and the fight between him and Dinosaurus was no different. He confronted Dinosaurus, a friend and ally who he trusted, a monster who used cold hearted logic to flood the planet. It looks to be a violent and deadly altercation, a fight that only the blood and gore of the incomparable Ryan Ottley could bring to life. But that didn’t happen—Not a bad thing! Totally not a bad thing. Mark Grayson walked into that Saloon opposite Dinosaurus and instead of drawing pistols at twenty paces; they drew the power of their brains! Okay, that sounded lame, but it was really well written and incredibly compelling. Mark Grayson matched IQ points against one of the most intelligent characters of the Kirkman universe—and he won! He convinced Dinosaurus of his folly! And then he murdered him… I suppose that is one character that died. Bravo Kirkman, you filled the minimum death requirement of “Everyone” dying by dumping Dinosaurus into the great beyond.
I’m not saying that issue 100 was a terrible comic, I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that it was the worst “Invincible” comic. Comparable to other comics? Other publishing companies? Still a great book. But do you know what the problem was? The hype. When the hype train kicked off on issue 100 “The Death of Everyone” it was prophesizing the epic shake up of the “Invincible” universe, an event that would unmake the world we knew and loved. Do you know what changed? Dinosaurus stopped showing up. Cecil got mad at Mark. There was a lot of water that took two pages to clean up. Super impressive stuff, I know. And this was tarted up to be their 100th issue. Really? The Viltrumite war happened throughout the 70s issues and it was the most incredible event to happen in any comic book continuity. People died in horrendous ways, characters that we had come to know, they were gone forever. The political climate of the universe was rocked to its very core. This was an event that defined “Invincible” and could have had the fanfare of the Winter Olympics. Instead, “Invincible” issue 100 was given all the promotion of a presidential election but had all the importance of an internet poll. It’s really sad too because currently things in the “Invincible” universe are going tits up and it couldn’t be more compelling. But instead, to celebrate 100 issues we were burdened with an average book, run of the mill, mediocre and pedantic.