The best thing I read last week is the Best Comic Book in the Universe, according to the cover anyways. Issue #123 of Invincible and it’s got a hell of a last page. Invincible has been on my pull list since around issue #20 and it is the #1 book on my pull list. It’s the book I always want to read first and usually the only book I read twice out of a stack of new books. Just like The Walking Dead it is a Robert Kirkman powerhouse and just like TWD I showed up just a little late after the series started but now it is my favorite book. And not just my favorite superhero book, my favorite book. If I had to cut my pull list down to just one monthly issue it would be sad to not read Amazing Spider-Man anymore but Invincible has the top spot.
Many great artists have worked on Invincible as inkers, letterers, editors and colorists and they deserve their due but I’m only going to focus on the 3 main names involved with the comic. Kirkman the writer, and Walker and Ottley the artists. Robert Kirkman the writer of Invincible is probably a name you already know with his work on Battle Pope, Marvel Zombies, The Destroyer, and a little zombie book called The Walking Dead. And just like The Walking Dead after the popularity of Invincible kicked in Kirkman found that his co-creator of Invincible Cory Walker wouldn’t be able to handle the duties of putting out a monthly book through Image. So just like Charlie Adlard came to the rescue and replaced Tony Moore on TWD as the series continued Mr. Kirkman had to find himself a replacement artist to keep his super hero book going after issue #7. In comes Ryan Ottley, one of my favorite comic artists of all time, a serious work horse that has now done almost 120 issues with very little help from fill in artists. And unlike the clashing difference between Moore and Adlard’s styles Ottley pulled off a feat of artistic brilliance I’ve never seen before in a comic series. He actually altered his style to mimic Walker’s and then phased it into his original style over the course of the next 10-15 issues. Most people have trouble even seeing when the artist changed over on Invincible because Ottley did this so well.
The writing on Invincible is great in a way that’s hard to explain. The easiest thing to see in Robert Kirkman’s writing on Invincible is that he’s a fan of the super hero genre. You know this kid grew up with comics the way we’ve seen from other fans turned fantastic authors like Dan Slott and Geoff Johns. The book started off with a very simple concept, if you grew up knowing that your dad was a superman type hero named Omni Man and had told you that you would probably develop super powers sometime in adolescence how hard would it be to work that McJob and go to school hoping everyday that your powers would kick in? This is the life we are first presented for are main character Mark Grayson. Through more ups and downs than I can count over the series we see Mark handle all the standard and cliché stories you’ve seen handled in thousands of other comics but presented with the Kirkman spin on them. And damn, sometimes that spin curls your toes, straightens your hair, or puts a serious pit in your stomach. Honestly some of the issues faced in this comic are as exhilarating as others are hard to read. But neither Kirkman nor Ottley shy away from showing or describing things that are violent, touching, or tough to witness. Imagine if you could write a story about how your favorite hero deals with those stupid cliché superhero moments, that is what Robert Kirkman is doing every month and it is damn fantastic. The only real problem in talking about this book is not giving too much away because it is so full of twists and turns and fantastic stories that spoiling something for a new reader is just wrong. The pictures in this article will go a long way to showing you the unique and diverse cast that Invincible has and hopefully won’t give too much away. Heroes, villains, aliens the likes of which you’ve never seen before in comics, so many great fights, indeed the bloodiest in any superhero comics I’ve ever read. As well as touching scenes of a teenager falling in and out of love and dealing with some of the toughest parental issues you’ve ever seen a fictional character face. Kirman brings you into Invincible’s word and shows you what it is warts and all, and it’s glorious.
Now the man that makes all that glory beautifully bloody and violent is one talented artist named Ryan Ottley. As you can see from the attached art Invincible is powerfully illustrated superhero book. Ottley can draw a super brawl better than any artist working today in comics. From a very early Omni Man fight that covered multiple pages I thought I had seen the best super fight illustrated ever. Then Ottley topped it. Then he topped it again. And again. The man has magic in his fingers and an eye for violent action like a supernaturally gifted action film director. It’s a thing of beauty to witness as he brings us actual scenes of characters punching planets and makes it all seem to fit in this fantastical world. Yeah planet punching. And dimensional jumping, blowing up cities, visiting alien worlds, all of it drawn in great detail and popping off the page. Ottley’s art has improved vastly over the years and he just keeps getting better. His characters has personality and weight. They convey emotion better than lots of real life actors. And yet he can make you just as interested in a fight as he can two or three people having a simple conversation. He attacks it all with an energy and flourish of skill that I believe to be currently unmatched in the superhero genre. Now I’m not going to tell you he’s the best comic artist in the world, but I’ll fight you if he’s not in your top 10.
So crazy super heroes dealing with violent family issues, dimension jumping villains, secret government spooks, alien wars, punching planets, and wicked hook ups, so what’s next? Invincible: Reboot. A title I have to admit had me as scared as it had me excited when I first saw it. But it’s advertised as a 3 issue arch, I can tell you with the way this issue read it fit into the story in a cool way, and at this point I have to say I trust where Kirkman is taking things. He has made me angry, he’s made me think, he’s made me laugh and almost cry, but he’s never let me down. It’s crazy but for long time fans it’s going to be really cool to see how this story is handled as the last page of issue #123 matches the first page from issue #1. Shit is about to get crazy. If you are a superhero comic fan there is no reason you shouldn’t already have this book on your pull list. If you used to be a superhero comic fan I’d say give Invincible a shot, either jump on right now or go grab the first trade, either way you will not be disappointed.