Spoilers want a cape.
If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you might have notice that when talking about a movie or a show that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, I tend to keep the details down to almost zero. This makes it really hard to review, but nevertheless some details whether intentionally or not, will leak out. To put this out early, I really love the comic book. This is one of those comics that I’ve followed digitally only to grab the hardcover compilations later. Fortunately, the show lives up to the comics’ reputation so far and being animated, it matches the comic book very closely.
Invincible (2021) was created by Robert Kirkman, already known for both the comic book and series for The Walking Dead. Kirkman does not pull punches, so you can imagine that you’re in for a wild ride with Invincible as well. Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) idolizes his father, Nolan (JK Simmons) also known to the world as superhero Omni-Man. He lives a seemingly peaceful life in the suburbs with him and his mother, Debbie (Sandra Oh). Nolan is a Viltrumite, a being from another planet, while Debbie is human. Mark is only half-Viltrumite and has been waiting since he can remember till the day his powers awaken and gets to be a superhero like his father.
Contrary to this been some sort of metaphor for puberty, becoming a superhero in this show is about being a superhero. As a matter of fact, out of most superhero stories this is one is about the implications of power, responsibility and legacy. This is not just about being human, being a Viltrumite is explored as well. Actually that alien side is going to become very important later on. This is not just about being a teenager (Spidey has that covered).
I do have to include one thing before the general audiences jump in. This show will not always be cute. It can be very, extremely violent and gory. That’s not going to happen in every frame nor in every episode but it won’t be pretty to look at when it does. There’s also some very manipulative plotting and ethical shades of grey that go along with having power and keeping up appearances. There are definitely some complex layers with problematic entanglements to navigate.
Strongly recommended, even if it’s only half as good as the comic that still makes it eons better than most superhero shows with meta content out there. I do have to put a warning that this is not a show for kids, despite it being animated. There will be blood and dismemberment. Mature audiences fans of superheroes will find some adult themes that are rarely explored in the genre. If you prefer the classic outtakes of the superhero equivalent to the hero’s journey, you might be turned off. On the other hand, if you want to know the harsh truths and potential disastrous consequences of ultimate power, this might just be up your alley.
That will do for now.