Gimme a Gimmick

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Since discovering Image Comics Invincible, I’ve been a fan.  Even when the occasional dud of a story, I’ve been able to go along with Robert Kirkman at the helm at take everything with a grain of salt.  Even though I should probably do the same thing with issue #60, the celebratory issue turns into one big mess of cameos, a major battle, and a whole lot of what did I just read?

invincible60cover.jpgAs revealed last issue, Dr. Angstrom is the evil genius behind the orbs that have been spying on Invincible, and readers also learned that Angstrom has been culling the multiverse for other Invincibles.  Issue #60 kicks off -  and finishes -  the Invincible War as 20 Invincibles (Invincibli?) wreck havoc across the Earth, destroying and demolishing everything in their path.

That everything and anything includes the heroes of the world, which is every single, or nearly every single, character appearing in an Image comic.  For those wanting a smack down, drag out, world shattering issue, featuring the team ups of your favorite Image characters, then this should go down as the best issue Image has ever published.  Ryan Ottley must have had a field day drawing characters from the pantheon of Image Comics characters.  He does an awesome job of it, and does it in a way that readers will  really need to scrutinize each panel to see who each of the Invincibles are fighting.

If one had to summarize the issue it could be done thusly, “A bunch of Invincibles from other dimensions are brought to the main world, which leads to a big battle, with the good guys winning in the end.”

And that’s where one of the biggest problems in the issue arise.  Because of all the jumping from one battle to the other, it is rather difficult to piece together what is going on with the heroic Invincible we all know and love.  The biggest example of this is where Atom Eve and Invincible arrive to aid Cyberforce, and then on the next page, Invincible if flying off with a seriously injured Atom Eve, who looks like she might be seriously injured.  The how and why is not answered, and the panels are so small where that action is taking place, that the importance of this tragedy are downplayed to the point of becoming meaningless. Perhaps it is not that big of a deal for this particular issue, but down the road the fallout from her injury will surely come up, which might cause many readers to ask themselves when that even happened, and how come they don’t remember it.

The other problem with the issue is with the cameos.  While the appearances of the Pitt and Spawn are cool moments (specially where the Pitt rips the crap out of Invincible’s face), and while the battles are of epic proportion, there is a problem with those heroes the bad Invincibles defeat.  While there are many on panel deaths (Youngblood and Witchblade to name a few), the fact that the characters are not dead in their own series is an indication that even in a cool world like Invincible, nothing stays dead for long (or ever).   The best death of the issue is Rex Splode blowing himself up real good and taking down one of the rogue Invincibles in the process.  It’s the only death that feels meaningful to those who have read the series for any length of time.

The lack of permanence, or feeling that anything that occurs in this issue will have any bearing in any other Image title ends up making this issue feel more like a piece of fan fiction than something I should take seriously.  Robert Kirkman delivers a great stand alone issue full of the fighting, and the punching, and the “hey lady!” and the glaven, and the ending where Angstrom gets his is really fitting, but there is just so much going on it is difficult to follow any individual sub-plot. While the big picture plot is cool and deserves 5 out of 5 Stars, the fan fic feel of the piece brings the issue rating down by at least three stars, but add on the four-page gate fold cover for a half star, and I can only give Invincible #60 2.5 Stars out of 5.  That’s not to say I didn’t like it, just not in the main continuity of the series.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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7 Comments

  1. March 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    I’m buying Invincible more for Ottley’s work these days than anything else…

  2. Lifeisaglitch
    March 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm — Reply

    Most events are dragged but out this was too short (a ridiculus mistake..its different but the same).
    A single extra single issue would have done wonders, but i did enjoy how they managed the Atom Eve thing.

    The art was great, and taking into account the amount of characters they (Ottley and Kirkyboy) had too handle they did a great job never steering too far away from the center, while still having a bunch of cool cameos, which were constructed pretty well.

    Quite the balance act but maybe it wouldnt have had to have been that.

  3. March 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    @Josh

    I wouldn’t let this low point in the series stop my Invincible love. Especially not when the last few have been such good stuff.

    I personally may have given this as high as a 3 slice of meatloaf just for the art alone. There’s just an appeal I have of seeing image characters together that I just don’t get when I see Marvel or DC characters together (though that may just be that it’s not very common place). Fun issue, sure, but not a great one.

    And Rex plodes death? What a bummer. It was the first time in a while that I felt a really profound sense of sadness for a comic book death (the last being Cap’s death)

  4. mosdef
    March 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    I agree with your review, cause i had to reread it a few times, it all happened to fast. Witchblades not dead by the way, it said so in the back Stephen(what happened to the days when Marvel had fan letters in the back) All of the deaths were kinda meaningless, i wanted to see Darkwings death but his panel was so small, it didnt work. I also thought the fight scene between the real Invincible and Angstrum could have been more drawn out instead of the doc throwing randomb balls that didnt really do anything. It was an okay issue, not the best I would love the backstory to some of those Invincibles also

  5. mugsgame
    March 20, 2009 at 11:53 pm — Reply

    Like most events the only thing that matters is the status at the end. It was a reset and a fun experiment. This is still the best superhero comic being published, maybe ever.

    The best thing about Kirkman’s books is that no one is safe and nothing happens cheaply.

  6. Kirby
    March 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm — Reply

    I really dug some of the alternate costumes in this issue, especially the black and yellow one with a cape. Otherwise so-so issue.

  7. March 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    Hmmm. I don’t know if this issue did much for me. The reset aspect wasn’t really clear for me, and I’m doubting that we’re going to see the fallout throughout the entire Image line that a battle of this magnitude would have actually created.

    Still, bits of it were interesting. I’ll be interested to see how the Guardians of the Globe rebuild from this one.

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