One of the topics that constantly fill up my e-mail box is recommendations for trade collections that readers should be picking up in lieu of individual issues. This post kicks off a brand new series of trades that are high on my reading list, and should be on yours too.
Fall is in the air, and that means it’s back to school time. But instead of the pushing and shoving and general awkwardness that is high school, what would happen if you discovered you had super powers? If you happen to be Mark Grayson, you’d not only be excited, you’d be relieved that you can follow in your father’s footsteps as a superhero.
Invincible by Robert Kirkman with art by Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley follows Mark, the teenage son of Omni-man, as he takes his first steps as a superhero and tries to balances his private life with that as the title character. Before you think this is another retelling of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, think again. The big shock comes at the end of issue #7 when everything he thought he knew about his father was a lie. Turns out Omni-Man isn’t from a benevolent planet sent to help all man-kind, but rather from Viltrumite, a tyrannical world made of the most powerful beings in the universe sent to Earth to take over the planet.
As you might expect there is a huge smack down between father and son until Omni-Man suddenly stops and flies into space, leaving Mark to pick up the pieces of his life. He eventually teams up with other heroes, gets a girlfriend, travels into space, where he meets his father, discovers he has a half-brother, helps to defend the planet from an attack from the Viltrumite home world, and discovers a secret that may help save the entire universe.
What makes Invincible a must read title is it is so much fun. Every character in the series is so well written and well thought out. Even throw away characters like the Mauler Twins have an important part play in the overall story. Also, thrown in throughout the series are nods to other superheroes and events from other companies, like Darkwing who looks an awful lot like a certain Gotham vigilante, and Damien Darkblood who might remind readers of a certain paranoid investigator from Watchmen.
The writing from Kirkman is top notch. He really understands how to develop and write characters readers can instantly identify with. The dialogue is witty and snappy and rarely drags. If I had one complaint about the series is it can get a little 90210 in places, but I think that’s unavoidable when you are talking about teenagers coping with new responsibilities, dating, hormones, and the rest.
Invincible first burst on the scene in 2002, and is quickly closing in on issue #50, while it may seem like a lot to catch up on, Invincible is collected in eight softcover trade paperbacks that go for around $11 each, but for your money and reading pleasure get yourself the three Invincible Ultimate Collection hardcovers that sell for $23 each..
If you are looking for a trade collection to keep you busy and entertained, you can’t go wrong with Invincible from Image Comics. I give the series a solid, well deserved, top of the world 5 out of 5 Stars.