Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Ryan Ottley
A lot of my time and energy is devoted to being critical of comic books and the comic book industry and a big reason I have vested myself thusly is for one primary reason: money. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t so that I will get money because my pay for this article is the cheerful smiles of the three people that read this. No, money is a huge motivation because a lot of the people I know (myself included) have so very little of it. So when a company—say Marvel, announces a huge crossover event with a dozen tie-in stories, we all get to weigh how much we want to read against how much food we want to eat this week. And that’s why it tickled my heartstrings this week when I picked up the recent issue of “Invincible” to find that the cover was emblazoned with the words, “It’s only 25₵!” Looks like this week will be UNvincible on “Invincible”.
So the first thing that I’m going to say is buy this book. I’m not even going to tell you whether or not it’s good. It costs is so low that by sheer cost efficiency it is guaranteed to be a good book. You could probably find the money on the floor of your car. Hell, you could throw out a whole dollar and buy three copies. My point is that in an industry perpetually targeting the age group of 15 -25 this is a brilliant move at self-promotion. But hang on; you may be wondering how this issue could be so cheap. If one issue is normally three bucks, did they cut down on the awesome? Is this the “Invincible” I have grown to love? Yes and no.
Remember, no matter what I say after this point, you still need to pick up an issue of “Invincible” #118. Now, is this a good issue? Undeniably. The story telling is very intense and the characterization is crisp—every single one of these characters is distinguishable from the other and their interactions together are incredibly enthralling. Is this book entertaining? Eh, the water is a little murky on this one. See the trouble is that the series just finished with a cataclysmic storyline in which Mark had to fight virtually a war against an army of robots. That sounds exciting doesn’t it? And in this issue he moves off planet to be a dad and semi-retire from super heroing. Kind of a tough pitch to anyone who isn’t already a fan of the book which is why Robert Kirkman took some steps to mitigate the disappointment.
One of the first things you will see when you open this comic book is a rundown of events. Now this isn’t like other comic books with a paragraph and a send-off; this is a dozen pages of awesome recap, highlighting the best events of Mark’s past. Remember Mark’s fight with his dad? Bam, there’s a panel. What about that time he fought an army of squid things from Mars? Whalop, there it is. Is there Dinosaurus? Bingo was his name-o. It takes all of Mark’s far reaching history and condenses it to only the coolest and most important nuggets with a brief panel for explanation, a really good looking panel. Does it leave some things out? Sure. Mark has had a wealth of character arcs too dense to summarize in a rundown. But that’s what works so well about this, it wets the appetite. Say you’re new to the “Invincible” universe. Perhaps you happen on the panel with the Mauler twins and you think those guys are cool. Maybe you even want to find out more about those guys. Where could you possibly got to—oh right, just buy “Invincible”.
I think one of the best attributes about this book however is the art. Ryan Ottley always has amazing art that is both astounding and beautiful to behold and yet at other times can turn it on a dime and make the most grotesque scene ever to be printed on paper. In this book he really gets a chance to shine. All of the emphasis in this book is on the characters and the environment, making the people walking around stunning and the places astounding. Since this takes place off world as well, Ryan gets to play around with design and draw whatever the Hell he can imagine because it ain’t real! But if I were to choose one aspect that is my absolute favorite out of this book, it would be the character design. Just look at Mark and Eve together and tell me he didn’t hit it out of the park.
Is this the best “Invincible” book? No, the very idea is laughable. There are other books with fights so amazing they end up on the moon, true story. But it is a great starter to the “Invincible” universe—it’s his story distilled down to its very heart. Sure the issue gets a bit over emotional but it’s a great way to get intimate with the characters and you paid less than a dollar for it. Buy this book, buy it now, and then buy the rest of “Invincible”.