REVIEW: ‘Invincible’ Is a Must-Watch for Superhero Fans

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Invincible

Invincible is an Amazon Prime Video Original Series, based on the Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley. Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) is like any other teenager: he deals with homework, a part-time job, and second-hand embarrassment from his mother Debbie (Sandra Oh). Unlike other teenagers, Mark’s father Nolan (J.K. Simmons) is the superhero known as Omni-Man. When Mark inherits Nolan’s Viltrumite powers, he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and becomes a superhero-taking up the name Invincible. However, he soon learns that the cape-and-cowl business is more challenging than anticipated.

Invincible was one of the first comic book series I ever read, and I loved that it acted as both celebration and subversion of the superhero genre. That continues into the animated series, thanks to Kirkman and Walker’s involvement. Kirkman serves as executive producer on Invincible and wrote the first issue, while Walker is the lead character designer on the series. As a result, the character designs feel like the panels from the comic have literally come to life. Walker also makes a few updates, including changing the look of Mark’s classmate Amber to match her voice actress Zazie Beetz as well as making Mark half-Asian fit the casting of Yeun and Oh.

Yeun is a pitch-perfect casting choice for Mark. Having previously done animated voice work in Voltron: Legendary Defender and serving as part of another Kirkman/Image adaptation in The Walking Dead, Yeun handles all of Mark’s facets as a character with ease. The first episode has an immensely emotional sequence when Mark tells his father that he wants to be like him, no matter what. My heart broke while hearing this because it reminded me of my relationship with my Dad and how I’ve always tried to make him proud. Scenes like this are why Invincible is one of my favorite comics ever; the relationship between father and son is a massive reason why the comic worked and I’m glad it’s still in the animated series.

Simmons and Oh also hold their own on the voice acting front. As Omni-Man, Simmons has a quiet yet steely authority underlining his speech; out of costume, he and Yeun partake in several emotional father and son conversations. Similarly, Oh has standout moments as Debbie, including a heart-to-heart with Yeun’s Mark about the weight of the superhero legacy he’s carrying and an emotional breakdown in the second episode.

The series is packed with top-tier voice talent, from heroes and villains alike. Chief among them is Gillian Jacobs as Invincible’s fellow superhero Atom Eve; Zachary Quinto as Robot, the leader of the superheroic Teen Team; and Walton Goggins as Cecil Steadman, the head of the Global Defense Agency. Even voice acting vets Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown make an appearance as superset tailor Art Rosenbaum and demonic detective Damien Darkblood, respectively. And in what may be the greatest casting gag ever, several cast members from The Walking Dead appear as the Justice League stand-ins Guardians of the Globe.

Invincible is no stranger to subverting standard superhero tropes. An alien invasion proves to be far more than Mark can handle, and a discussion with another hero reveals exactly why superheroes can get away with secret identities: because most people pay less attention than you’d expect Unlike Amazon’s previous comic-based series The Boys, this series isn’t seeking to poke holes in what we love about superheroes but rather present it in a new light. Ironically, The Boys‘ Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg also executive produce this series.

Most superhero series are known for their action sequences, and Invincible features some of the best. The first three episodes each feature a massive battle sequence, with different applications of standard super-powers. Keeping in line with the source material, it’s also IMMENSELY bloody. When someone gets hit, the audience will feel it; and when Mark lands or is sent flying through a building, concrete and bricks shatter into dust and the screen shakes. The influence of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who also produced The Boys for Amazon Prime Video, is most prominent in these fight sequences-it feels ‘realistic’ without trying to overcompensate.

Another way the animation stands out is how expressive it is. A key example comes in the second episode, where Mark has to deal with the aforementioned Flaxian invasion. As the Flaxians continue to overwhelm and kill, Mark’s eyes widen in horror and he stands frozen in fear. Similarly, the Flaxian emperor has little to no dialogue, but the sadistic smirk on his face makes it clear that he’s enjoying the death and destruction he’s raining down on humankind. The level of detail is overall amazing.

Invincible is a pitch-perfect adaptation of one of the best comic series ever created, with Steven Yeun bringing the title character to life. Anyone who loves superheroes in any shape or form will want to add this series to their viewing list and check out the original comics as well.

The first three episodes of Invincible will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting March 26.

'Invincible'
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Invincible is a pitch-perfect adaptation of one of the best comic series ever created, with Steven Yeun bringing the title character to life. Anyone who loves superheroes in any shape or form will want to add this series to their viewing list and check out the original comics as well.