So did anyone else check out the first three episodes of Invincible that dropped last Friday on Amazon? After those first three dropped all at once last week it will be one episode/week on Fridays for what I believe is an eight episode first season.
I like it. I read the comic years ago up through around what I think is collected in the first compendium volume (of three). Spoilers for a couple things that had just happened around that time in the comic, for anyone who’s read the series and wants to know what I’m basing my impressions on:
Oliver has just gotten his powers, Invincible has left Cecil and the CIA, just started dating Atom Eve.
The show just prompted me to start re-reading the now-complete series, and I’ve only just gotten back to around where I left off the first time, but that certainly takes me beyond where the first three episodes go, and probably further than the first season will go.
So anyway, the show! First off, the cast is loaded, and almost universally excellent. The only problems are that a lot of the cast is so recognizable it can be distracting (looking at you, Jason Mantzoukas), and a couple people have pointed out that Steven Yeun in the lead doesn’t quite sound like a senior in high school. But J. K. Simmons as Omni-Man is perfect, and I particularly like Zachary Quinto as Robot.
After starting to re-read the series I noticed several changes in these early episodes, but nothing that feels disruptive. Well, maybe
Will William being gay right from the start in the show. I think maybe he comes out as gay later in the comic, but in the 1/3 or so of the series that I’ve read that hasn’t come up. That means a couple of the dating subplots might change, but maybe not in a way that significantly affects the big picture.
The show looks great at times, the animation is solid during the action. Sometimes that feels like it’s at expense of some of the slower moments, where it can feel a little static and lack detail, but I’ll be fine with it if whatever the budget is means they can keep this up for however many seasons it takes to cover the whole run.
Last—and maybe I should’ve put this first—my pitch to anyone completely unfamiliar with Invincible: It’s about high school student Mark Grayson, whose father is “Omni-Man”, one of the most powerful superheroes in Earth, and the beginning of his life as a superhero himself. It was published by Image, so it’s not connected to anything Marvel/DC, but the world feels very much like the Marvel universe where you’re tripping over superheroes and supervillains left and right (and it includes plenty of obvious analogs and nods to Marvel and DC characters). A lot of the appeal is the Spider-Man-esque struggle of a teenager trying to balance the pressures of his real life with superheroics.
But an even bigger draw for me was that it was all written by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), so there’s a consistency and focus that the dozens of writers for Marvel or DC can’t match in their worlds. You don’t have to worry about retcons and big changes every time a new writer starts on your favorite character or team. Kind of like when Brian Michael Bendis was writing Ultimate Spider-Man and got to more or less personally rewrite the Marvel universe on his own. Plot details that seem insignificant at the time may have bigger ramifications a dozen issues later, or just make for fun call-backs.
Big caveat, I’ve tried to avoid spoilers for myself so I don’t know if the comic stuck the landing. I hope it did!
Also, while it looks very comic-booky, it may not be suitable for your kids, depending on their threshold for violence. It can get bloody.