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Amid a world filled with tired themes and worn-out plot-lines

Invincible Vol.#8

it’s difficult to judge accurately a book that, for all appearances, looks like every other book out there. Ryan Ottley, illustrator for Image comic’s Invincible, summed it up nicely within the first couple sentences of the foreword published in the 8th trade volume of Invincible:

When Invincible first hit the stands in early 2002, I remember picking it up off the shelves at my local comic shop, and then setting it right back down. I said to myself “BAH, who needs ANOTHER super-hero book anyway?!?” And I passed on it.

Back when Invincible came out I was still a big Wolverine fan. Don’t ask me why but there is a significant appeal to a short, moody, hairy Canadian berserker bad-ass with metal (or bone) claws coming out of his fists… if you’re an angry teenager. My Wolverine obsession only began diminishing by the time the second movie came out.

Around that time Image comics didn’t have anything that truly interested me and if they did I couldn’t find it anywhere, i.e. BRASS Sure, they cornered the supernatural market with books like Witchblade and The Darkness and even Spawn had managed to eventually tie into that whole magical/supernatural genre and I wasn’t interested at all. The art in Savage Dragon looked drawn by an eleven year old and even after a decade it hadn’t made much progress in the way of story. Nor was I interested in seeing superhero archetypes in homosexual relationships/situations either. I knew what I wanted to know about all those books and it seemed likely that Image just couldn’t cater to my needs.

So when I saw Invincible No.1 sitting on the shelf it initially drew my attention but only slightly and very similar to Ottley’s reaction in the quote above; I thumbed through the book and, looking back, remember thinking, Well… let’s see how long this title lasts and maybe I’ll give it a try.

Yes, that’s a horrible way to think.

I know. *sigh*

Especially about a comic book!

I said I know! Sheesh!

Since then I’ve humbly come to learn the error of my ways. And my practice – when I can afford them and am so far behind in the storyline – is to buy the trades.

But back then I was single and didn’t mind dropping so much on Marvel’s MC2 books like Spider-Girl and The Buzz and enjoying Deadpool/Agent-X – among many others – that it just didn’t seem right for me to start another potential flop superhero book from Image. Plus my closet space was slowly being taken up by several, large long-boxes.

My experience with ill-fated books goes a little something like this, though only slightly varied by titles and circumstances….

There’s a book called Iron Wings of which Image published only two issues

Wizard dude

Kaa-meh!.... Haaaa-meh!....

around a decade ago. The artwork was fantastic; the story was leading into something epic and I looked for more but there was none. Maybe Jay Juch was too lazy to keep it going a few more issues; maybe the higher-ups just didn’t want to take a risk on something even Wizard seemed less enthralled by – since I don’t ever recall reading about it within their pages. I don’t know what happened to it. At one point I did email the author when I found his address in the back of an issue, asking him if there are more books in the works only for him to say he had “moved on to other projects”. I sure haven’t seen anything, whatever they were (to be). Image has a lot of comics that just… vanish… after a couple of issues if Half Price book stores haven’t proved that much to me over the years. It happened with many books, titles and publishers not solely with Image but that was the image I had of Image, I’m sad to say.

Invincible….

I’ve just finished trade volume 9. I’m a fan.

This is a really well-written book. Even the villains grow on you.

It’s groundbreaking.

Yeah, I know that’s a major thing to say but it’s a comic book and when I read a book that has this much violence it’s only natural to expect all the characters to be d-bags or the main character to be a whiny, reluctant loser and that’s not the case at all.

The main character – Mark Grayson aka Invincible – isn’t written with a cocky attitude. His powers haven’t gone to his head. He makes mistakes but works through them and his supporting characters really do lend him support. The teenage drama he faces is relatable and the super-heroics, although not on the sMarkGrayson-Invinciblecale of other more seasoned super-type books, have built up with every issue obviously destined for some unknown outcome.

Robert Kirkman has essentially re-created the sandwich in comic form. I’m not talking PB&J here but a real sandwich, something like what you would order at Subway only to realize after the second or third bite that it is the most awesome sandwich you’ve ever eaten and you’re a freaking genius.

Now I will admit it took me a while to adjust to all the nauseatingly bright colors within the book and the repetitious panels seemed a bit lazy at first but for certain scenes the simplicity fits perfectly. At first the art was a little hard to take in but that’s when I began to focus on the story, using the artwork solely for reference. Before I knew it I was five trades in and I’ve been sucked in nearly five trades more. I can’t say whether the art has improved much or not but at this point I really couldn’t care any less.

I’m way behind other readers and fans of Invincible and I’m fine with that. Unlike other books I’ve read that are just as addictive I don’t mind waiting. I’ve even managed to score some really cheap trades off Amazon so that has been really nice – more bang for my buck.

Yeah, says you! Everyone’s a critic. 🙂

-VR

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