Posts Tagged ‘Image Comics’

Robert Kirkman’s Invincible

December 1, 2011 1 comment

Robert Kirkman is best known for his comic book turned TV series The Walking Dead. What a number of zombie-horror fans neglect is Kirkman’s just as lengthy and detailed work Invincible. This is isn’t that much of a suprise; horror comics stand out more amongst the countless super-hero books on the market, and on first glance, it’s pretty easy to dismiss it as just another super-hero book.

The set-up for Invincible is surprisingly simple; it’s a mix of the growing pains angst that fans of various Spider-Man titles will be familiar with and the sort of two-fisted, god-like heroism that appears all the time in books like Superman. The titular character is a young man with incredible power and a sudden realisation that he’d better find some sense of responsibility or deal with the consequences. The book addresses the notion that if one was nearly-indestructible and strong enough to throw buildings around, then you’d have to grow up pretty fast.

Despite this, it doesn’t take itself as seriously the way many post-Watchmen1 comics do; Invincible doesn’t try and do comics for grown-ups, what it does is tell a story about super-powered humans in a way grown-ups will find engaging. Nominally set in the same universe as Spawn and The Savage Dragon , Kirkman’s tale quickly establishes its own mythos and rules,2 showing us a world in which the consequences of having individuals with the destructive capacity of a nuclear bomb is dealt with in a rational and pragmatic way.

The artwork is clean and action driven, and fits the narrative very well

Fans of The Walking Dead know that Kirman loves to throw his readers a curve ball; he delights in setting up reader expectations and telegraphing the forthcoming plot, only to suddenly change everything at the last minute, causing sub-plots to suddenly reverse and the main characters to have to deal with rapid change and stress. Just like real life, the reader seldom knows what’s coming next.

There is a lot to love about Invincible; the romantic sub-plots are always set-up in a way that, though often fantastic, are believable and the villains are very rarely cackling mad-men, rather they have hopes, dreams and motivations. (Indeed, some of the villains aren’t villains). Time is spent setting up the supporting cast so we care about what happens to them, and the entire work has the internal consistency that one gets with single-creator owned work.

Invincible is a big story, the 15th volume comes out in January, and it’s still ongoing, with no sign of the end in sight. Despite the size, I suspect once you start you’ll find it hard to stop, so be warned, it’s addictive.

1: Alan Moore’s The Watchmen was a comic book back in the 80’s which gets mentioned every time someone else writes a super-hero book aimed at a mature audience. It’s typically used as a the base-line for ‘mature’ audiences and spawned countless imitators of variable quality, and can be criticised for being too visceral and cynical.

2: Image comics in general tend to avoid being one cohesive lump of shared- universe. Which is fair enough, as Marvel and to a lesser extent, DC, already have that market cornered.

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