I love comics, not in the way the otakus standing outside the comic shop eager to buy the next issue love comics, but despite the usual stigma you can catch me reading them on the train. The trouble for me is time. Much as I would love to read everything, I just can’t, so I’m selective as to what I spend my time reading. Lately I’ve been into manga (Japanese comics), but when a friend recommended the Invincible series I put a pause on my manga addiction.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Invincible is the story of a young superhero with Superboy-like roots, but with a less kryptonian interesting twist. Created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker and published by Image Comics, this comic series is nothing you want to pass up.
NOTABLE CHARACTERS (sans-spoilers):
Invincible, alias Mark Grayson. The teenage son of Nolan (Omni-man) and Debbie Grayson. At 7 years old, Mark’s father told him he was Omni-man, an alien from a planet called Viltrum and that he’d probably start exhibiting powers after puberty. The comic starts when Mark receives them and decides to be a superhero like his father before him.
Omni-Man, alias Nolan Grayson. Member of the Guardians of the Globe (think Justice League), and alien from the planet Viltrum. According to conversations with his son Mark, Viltrum is not disimilar to Krypton, in that they gained peace and technology and the Viltrumites decided to share it with the world. Nolan was assigned to protect Earth from any alien threats and took on the persona of Omni-man, and secret identity of Nolan Grayson, a travel books writer.
Atom Eve, alias Samantha Eve Wilkins. Classmate of Mark and a part of the “Teen Team.” At first I wanted to lump her into the usefulness powers category of Jubilee, but a later issue explains what is is Eve can REALLY do and it’s pretty cool. Her origins story is also pretty interesting.
Allen the Alien. This character is a pleasant surprise to the plot. A victim of empire-like destruction and take-over of species, Allen and Mark become friends in protecting the world and eventually the universe. Aside from being just as strong and tough as Invincible, he’s just cool.
Robot. Leader of the “Teen Team,” and eventually becomes involved with the Guardians of the Globe. He’s super intelligent, and also becomes more than he seems. Another character with a great backstory. That’s probably why this series works, they put a lot of effort into the important characters.
Mauler Twins. Two villains I never get tired of. They’re always bickering over who is the clone and who is the original, while being mad geniuses and some fun foes of the superheroes. They seem to creep into issues being both unexpected but fitting at the same time.
Angstrom Levy. Another villain that makes for interesting twists in the series. And with a name like that, you’ve gotta be destined for supervillainess (it just works, don’t you think?) His powers are being able to teleport from dimension to dimension, which also makes for probably my favorite villain/hero interaction in the series.
There are loads others, but this gives you a quick idea of the Invincible universe.
Still wondering why you should read it?
Well, aside from being another well-written superhero comic, if you’re into the show Heroes, this just takes it a step further when the world actually has superheroes in full costume hanging around. It’s got witty humor, fun sarcasm, farse, and I think offers as real a view you can get (I mean, this is a superhero comic) on what it might be like to suddenly become a bonified superhero.
We usually see the superheroes as superheroes, but what about the rough starts? Think of this as more of a Peter Parker, I’m a superhero but I’ve also got regular problems too.
It just works.
So give it a try. There are several ways you can do this (and praise your local library if they’ve got it).
You can go issue by issue, which may be harder now that we’re nearly 60 issues in (as of Feb 2, 2009), though you’ll get the story the quickest at around $2.99 per issue.
You can get the paperbacks (what I recommend) at around $11 and up a piece which usually contain 4 issues. So basically once 4 more issues have come out you can expect another paperback.
Or if you want something more collectible, there’s the Ultimate Collections, which contain usually 3 paperback’s worth of issues at around $23 and up per book, though this takes the longest, since you’d need a lot more issues to have come out. (The 4th one is supposed to come out this month or soon, it varies from source to source).
You can check out the first issue online at Image Comics here and see what you think. (For how long, I dunno).
It’s a good series though, and if you’re feeling burnt out on comics or animation, well, this seemed to help revive me.