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Invincible (Season 1): The Gold Standard for Comic Book T.V. Series

Written by Mike

What if superheroes were real? Not like we see in the movies, but ACTUALLY real. What kinds of real-world problems would superheroes have, and what would their real-world solutions be? What kind of damage would a super-powered punch do to a “normal” human? And, of course, what kind of damage could superhumans do to our world. These questions are explored in the Amazon series Invincible; superheroes not only exist, but are relatively common. Secret government organizations partner with the various superhero groups to protect the world. Of the heroes on Earth, one stands above the rest; Omni-Man.

Invincible is the story of Omni-Man’s son Mark Grayson, a seventeen-year-old boy who begins developing his own superpowers. After all the years of looking up to his father, Mark is able to finally come into his own, step onto the superhero stage, and become the show’s title character Invincible. As Mark grows into his role as Invincible and the world of superheroes opens up to him, we begin to see that not everything is as it seems; not with the world, the superhero community as a whole, or even his father, Omni-Man.

Invincible has eight roughly forty-five-minute episodes, and the show developers do a great job of utilizing every second of screen-time. The show’s runtime is, for the most part, split between three plot strands; the development of Mark into a superhero, the formation of a superhero group known as the New Guardians of the Globe, and (the best part of the show) the mystery surrounding the extraterrestrial origins of Omni-Man. The show transitions effortlessly between character development, fast-paced superhero action, and gripping suspense as you try to piece together the puzzle that is always present in the background (and that’s all I can say without spoiling it for you).

The main characters of the show are Invincible, Omni-Man, Atom Eve, and Amber Bennet. Invincible (voiced by Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead) is the title character; he is exactly what you would imagine a person would be like if they were trying to balance a typical teenage lifestyle and being a somewhat weaker version of the strongest superhero on the face of the planet. You will see throughout the series that Mark has a lot of fun with his superpowers, but when things get serious, he is often overwhelmed. Omni-Man, or rather his voice actor J.K. Simmons, steals the show here. He is stoic, strong, and no-nonsense; he is the strongest of Earth’s defenders. The character will be a real treat for you if you ever wondered what J. Jonah Jameson would be like if he took a chill pill, put on tights, and gained superpowers. Atom Ever (voiced by Gillian Jacobs of Community) is a teenaged superhero like Invincible and dances on the line between being Mark’s friend and being a love interest. She helps Invincible with the adjustments to hero life and introduces him to the wider superhero community. The last character I want to highlight for you here is Mark’s girlfriend, Amber Bennet (voiced by Zazie Beetz of Deadpool 2). I mention this character because she is an important part of Mark’s arc and transition into being Invincible by highlighting the conflicts that can occur when duty and responsibility collide with personal relationships. Having said all of that, I want to say that this is the worst character in the show. Amber is not just unlikeable, that would be ok, but she is always presented as a down-to-earth, experienced, and wise counter to Marks inexperience and immaturity. In reality, she is self-righteous, arrogant, and self-centered, which is emphasized more and more as the show progresses.

Invincible was originally a comic book published by Image Comics, written by Robert Kirkman, and illustrated by Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley. Amazon has done a great job of bringing the property to the silver screen; I didn’t read the comics, but my understanding is that the show is very faithful to its source material with the biggest changes being Amber’s conceited personality. If you do not mind the very realistically gory fight scenes, then this is one not to miss. For these reasons, I rate this show as excellent on my five-tiered scale (Bad, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Excellent)!

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