To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Invincible is an adult animated superhero streaming series for Amazon Prime Video. The series is produced by Robert Kirkman, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and stars the voice talents of Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, and J. K. Simmons. Based on the Image Comics series of the same name by Kirkman, the story revolves around Mark Grayson, the 17-year-old son of the world’s strongest superhero Omni-Man, and his transformation into the superhero known as Invincible under the guidance of his father.
Invincible is one of the few animated shows that is geared towards teens and adults. Very much a parody of mainstream comics the heroes in this universe are very similar in look and power set to DC, Marvel, and other comic heroes. Omni-Man is your Superman archetype. Then you have the Guardians of the Globe, this universe’s equivalent to the Justice League. Darkwing is very similar to Batman. War Woman is clearly a play on Wonder Woman. Martian Man is Martian Manhunter. And Red Rush is Flash. Other heroes are mashups. Damien Darkblood is a mix of Hellboy and The Question. Green Ghost is a mix of Green Lantern and The Spectre. Then there are teams like the Teen Team, a riff on Teen Titans and Fight Force, implied to be more ground-level heroes like the Defenders. The show does not skip over the adult situations and gore that can be found in the comic it is adapted from. Heroes are shown committing infidelity, agreeing to shady deals for their own personal gain, and killing in gruesome and sometimes comical fashion. Heroes and civilians alike are also brutally murdered with blood, organs, and bones clearly shown to the audience. Even when the heroes do save the day, their mistakes are shown bringing a realism to the show that other superhero cartoons avoid. The show can be seen as an animated version of Amazon Prime Video’s other popular superhero show, The Boys.
The animation is pretty solid although not super detailed. It’s not a bad thing as it does look very much like a motion comic in certain scenes. Even though characters are detailed extremely, lasting effects of the characters’ battles are seen from episode to episode. Omni-Man almost gets his eyes gouged out in one episode and they are red the entire next episode. The voice cast is also great. Besides the main three stars, you can hear the voice talents of Mark Hamill, Walton Goggins, Zachary Quinto, Khary Payton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Zazie Beetz, Clancy Brown, Jon Hamm, Mahershala Ali, Seth Rogen, and the list goes on. It’s almost a treat to figure out what new voice you may recognize as the show progresses.
As far as the main character goes, Mark is pretty likable. He’s a good kid who wants to be a hero just like his dad. Going back to the mashups, Mark is similar to Spider-Man and Superboy. He struggles to balance his superhero life with his personal life. He has to worry about school, keeping his girlfriend happy, and saving the day. Mark also stands out as one of the few biracial as well as bi-species superheroes. His father Nolan is a Caucasian-looking Viltrumite and his mother Debbie is Korean-American. Each episode is pretty self-contained with the main through-line being the characters finding out who murdered the Guardians of the Globe. Mark starts developing more as a hero. He befriends other people in the superhero community, such as Atom Eve, and is trying to live up to the superhero name he chose for himself. Most of the villains are defeated by the end of each episode with the killer of the Guardians of the Globe of course being the final big bad. Who turns out to be, spoiler-alert, Omni-Man.
The great thing about Omni-Man being the final villain is that viewers know his true intentions from the first episode. We see him kill the Guardians and are just waiting for everyone else to figure it out. We also see the fallout from him telling his son why he’s really on earth and his wife overhearing this conversation. Being called a pet by your own husband is just crushing. There’s also all the carnage Nolan creates trying to get his son to come over to his way of thinking. Their fight is one of the most brutal, one-sided battles in the entire season. The final episode does leave it open about what will happen with Omni-Man, but that’s a great way to get fans excited for another season. Which we know is definitely happening because two more seasons were already announced.
Although it doesn’t follow the comic storyline exactly Invincible is a terrific adaptation. The heart of the characters remains the same and the brutality and comedic timing is great. I give Invincible Season 1 a Superb 5/5. Very excited to see what is adapted into the next two seasons.