Invincible (First Three Episodes) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
Amazon’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series Invincible brings the source material to life and takes viewers into a familiar yet fresh world of superheroes and bloodshed.
The series introduces us to Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) as he begins to understand the weight and reality of being a superhero after he gains superpowers at the age of seventeen. Mark certainly feels reminiscent of Peter Parker in that he’s a bullied high school nerd who loves comics and is now juggling superhero struggles in his daily life. However, Kirkman’s more adult storytelling and dialogue gives him a much different feel and his love for superheroes stems past his love for comic books. With Mark being the son of Omni-Man (voiced by J.K. Simmons), the most powerful superhero on Earth, he’s really trying to prove himself as a hero to everyone. His rise to a respectable heroic status and understanding the highs and lows of heroism make his journey very meaningful and full of relatable strife. We see him struggle with being unable to save everyone and how destructive his powers can really be. There’re even moments where Mark’s new powers gets to his head and it adds a lot of depth and meaning to his story.
Thus, Mark ends up being the perfect guide for us going through this new, yet slightly familiar world full of superheroes. Very quickly, you start to recognize that the artistic looks and powers of a lot of the heroes, including Omni-Man, are loosely based on characters from Marvel and DC. Even the animation style of the series and the way that the younger generation of heroes known as the Teen Team steps into the shoes of a legacy team that’s been decimated gave me vibes of Young Justice. Rather than that reminiscence make the characters seem like carbon copies, the great personalities and voices behind the characters make them stand far apart from their lookalikes. Frankly, Invincible might have the strongest voice cast ever with all these iconic voices, for the most part, blending in well with their characters. Not to mention, the sprinkles of light-hearted humor create a great ease between all the action with some of Mark’s high school hiccups and great banter between characters making for some good laughs. The gag with how the opening title jumps in is so great and always funny.
On the surface, Invincible looks like it would just be another high-flying story of glory and heroism, but there’s a much darker side to it when it comes to Omni-Man. Omni-Man seems like your typical Superman-type as he flies across the world in seconds to save everyone – even other heroes. However, there are moments throughout the premiere with how he views Mark getting his powers and his interactions with other heroes that show he might not be the perfect hero. Honestly, most of the premiere threw me off because I expected it to be gorier than it was. Once we get to the end, or rather post-credit stuff, though Omni-Man makes a villainous turn like no other as he decimates The Guardians of Globe, which is basically a Justice League/Avengers equivalent, in grotesque and gruesome fashion.
It’s essentially the same idea of Injustice and The Boys where Superman turns evil, but I don’t even think DC or The Boys could leave a pit in your stomach in the same way that this premiere ending does. The gore and watching each hero literally get brutalized absolutely guts you in an unexpected way and makes you more petrified of Omni-Man’s presence. The scene of him heading to the invading alien planet in episode two is equally brutal and positions Omni-Man as the true villain. It’s such an impactful turn that leaves you on edge for future episodes as Mark becomes more ingrained into the superhero community and hellish demon detective Damien Darkblood (voiced by Clancy Brown) is hot on Omni-Man’s trail. It honestly just kicks off the more brutal and bloody action in general as each fight comes with blood-spurting, gut-spilling action that’s limitless with the series being animated. Also, the series sets up other plotlines involving Mark’s relationships with his classmate Amber (voiced by Zazie Beetz) and fellow superhero Eve/Atom Eve (voiced by Gillian Jacobs), Allen the Alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) meeting Mark, and Robot (voiced by Zachary Quinto) possibly having ulterior motives that’ll be interesting to see play out while Mark becomes more aware of his father’s actions.
Amazon has another super-powered titan on their hands with Invincible as the series finds ways capture your heart and absolutely gut you within its first few episodes. Its amazing animation, fresh but familiar voice cast and superhero world, and multi-layered story headlined by Mark’s relatable and engaging rise to hero journey makes it somehow totally standout in an ever-growing and overcrowded superhero genre – which is an achievement in itself.