Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Invincible: Family Matters

Invincible is a "cape and tights" comic written by Robert Kirkman, and drawn by Corey Walker. The main character, Mark Grayson, is a typical teenager: He's a senior in high school, he has a crappy part time job at a burger joint, he's interested in girls, and his dad is the most powerful superhero on earth. Ok, maybe that last bit isn't so typical, but aside from the super hero stuff...pretty standard!

Mark's father is Omni-Man, a super powerful human-like alien from a far distant planet, here on earth to protect it from trouble. Mark's mom seems like a typical American mom, but her calm, laid-back demeanor seems to keep the family anchored.

One day at work while taking out the garbage, Mark discovers that has begun to inherit his father's powers. That night at dinner, Mark's mother asks him how his day was. Mark replies that he thinks he is finally getting his Dad's powers, and his mom's response is to say: "That's nice. Can you please pass the potatoes?" Her normal response to a very abnormal statement was quite funny to me, and sets the Grayson family up as a very likable bunch. It would be hard to connect to a family of super-powered heroes, but the mother, in her normalcy, allows the reader to be able to make that connection, and it really works. I found myself liking the scenes at home the best.

As Mark learns more about his burgeoning powers, he goes though most things you might expect a young upstart hero to go thorough: From choosing a suit, to picking a name, and busting low-life crooks. Mark also kinda-sorta joins a super hero team called the "Teen Team". Pathetic name, but the babe of the team, Atom Eve, is a school mate of Mark's, and his crush.

With the help of the Teen Team, and Omni-Man, Mark works to uncover the whereabouts of some students who have gone missing from his high school, and how they may be connected to a string of mall bombings.

The art of Invincible is quite striking. The artist, Walker and colorist Crabtree, use bold lines and bright colors to make the images stand out. The somewhat cartoony artform lends a bit of lightheartedness to the story. While I enjoyed the visuals, there were never any moments that really took my breath away.

Invincible is an interesting take on costumed heroes. Mark is a likable guy, and Kirkman's writing is quite solid, but I never felt like I was fully hooked into the story. This was probably due to there being a complete lack of tension. I never worried for Mark's safety, or thought that maybe he couldn't handle a situation. You'd think a rookie hero might run across some hardship in his or her early stages of crime fighting, but that never happened here, and it was a bit boring. The "bad-guys" were chumps, and easily handled, and Mark is "Invincible" so can anything really go too far wrong for him?

All in all, Invincible was an enjoyable, light read, but not necessarily what I would consider a must read by any means. Fans of costumed hero comics might enjoy this one more than I did, but for me the rest of the series isn't exactly something i feel like I need to read.

Grade: C

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