Invincible: A Truly Spectacular Superhero Story


Superhero stories have been a staple in our pop culture for decades, dominating the film industry and having huge roles in nearly every form of media imaginable. As the years pass, we’re getting used to seeing a new blockbuster about another Hollywood Chris in CG spandex every 6 months. While these movies are enjoyable and surprisingly compelling action flicks, they draw attention away from their own origins; the comic book industry. It’s certainly easier to watch Tom Holland flip around on the silver screen than it is to buy a 6-pound omnibus at Barnes & Noble, but there are some real comic-book gems that deserve to see the light of day. One of these gems happens to be Invincible, written by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman.

Invincible is a ‘deconstruction’ of the superhero genre that builds an entire universe of compelling characters within its own constraints. It certainly doesn’t reach the nihilistic and depressing levels of gritty realism of fellow deconstructions like The Boys and Watchmen in its deconstruction, but it rather resorts to very clever twists on the traditional tropes of such books. Kirkman describes it as “going against type,” and it does such in some of the most interesting ways imaginable.

It is an arduous task to describe how compelling Invincible’s story-telling is without mentioning its story, but spoiling any of it should be a federal crime, thus a majority of the plot will not be discussed. It starts off in the most traditional sense possible, playing it safe and telling the story of a young Mark Grayson (AKA Invincible) getting his powers and living with his superhero dad, Omni-Man, but the story quickly devolves and contorts as the curtains over this less-than-perfect universe start to pull. Morals are challenged, and the idea of what it means to be a superhero is constantly up in the air. It doesn’t stick to the generic ideals of “Bad guy! Punch! Woo!” Instead, it twists every trope of the genre to be infinitely more interesting, and making you question every other superhero story you’ve read.

It’s an incredibly long series, with 144 issues, all of which are beautifully illustrated by Ryan Ottley & Cory Walker, and they are all worth your time. The comic has a rather underground following, but it’s finally getting a chance to get the attention it deserves with an animated series coming out on Amazon Prime in 2021. If you’re impatient and want to read ahead, many YouTubers have already tackled the comic in various ways. DannyMalt has a read-through of all 25 volumes and some spin-offs on his channel, and Prodigy is currently releasing masterfully voice-acted motion comics for the series.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you take a look at Invincible if you have the time, whether it be out of boredom or interest in something new to read, as it’s a refreshing and consistently enjoyable change of pace in the increasingly monotonous genre of superheroes.