I had no prior knowledge of Invincible as a comic, so when I see that Robert Kirkman’s creation had come to life I was intrigued. We all know about the notoriety of The Walking Dead, so I was curious seeing the trailer for this. What I found in the first three episodes was an animation style that undersold how gripping and brutally violent this show is.
Before we get to that we have to talk about the voice cast. The title character played by Steven Yeun has such a bubbly hopefulness that will get tested in so many ways. His father Omni-Man (JK Simmons) isn’t new to this, he’s true to this, or is he? Throughout the pilot, he’s presented as this regal hero and caring father until a stunning plot twist (for those who haven’t read the comic) that is jarring visually. Sandra Oh’s Debbie Grayson, who plays wife and mother to both Nolan and Mark Grayson carries the heart of the show as the human in this powered family.
The dedication to the idea of a father/son tandem having powers is really well stated here. The training scenes don’t feel wasted and they have some fun added to them. Seeing Mark stumble around fighting his very first villain was hilarious in its simplicity.
Some of the show’s best moments are when Mark is with The Teen Team fighting aliens on repeat. They have to defeat them in multiple ways which is really fun. The villains don’t feel as easily dispatched as we’ve gotten used to in some mediums. The Teen Team consists of Robot (Zachary Quinto), Atom-Eve (Gillian Jacobs), Rex-Splode (Jason Mantzoukas), and Dupli-Kate (Melise). They all have quite the personality quirks.
I also am digging the shadowy element of Walton Goggins’ Cecil Steadman as he tries to figure out who’s done the dastardly deed at the end of episode one. There’s nothing like a mysterious government organization that’s there without actually being there.
Make sure you watch this show without your kids. Do not let the animation fool you, this show is incredibly graphic. It’s graphic in a way that left my mouth agape. Keep the kiddies away at all costs.
It most certainly helped that I went into this show with no expectations as the first three installments were really good stories. I have a lot of questions about character motivations going forward but in a good way. The nuances in how they balance between action and story are what will make this show great.
This is a different form of comic book animation as the episode lengths are about 42-48 minutes. This allows time for complete story arcs to build especially with such an abundance of characters. You can make the argument that there are too many characters, but so far it isn’t an impediment. The stories of the Graysons, especially Nolan’s dark side alone are enough reasons to come back for more. Invincible’s first three episodes are available for streaming on Amazon Prime, with new episodes airing every Friday.