If you thought the Viltrumite War was bloody in the last issue of Image Comics’ Invincible, then you will certainly be taken by surprise in what Robert Kirkman has cooked up for the next chapter in the life of Mark Grayson.

INVINCIBLE #77
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Invincible: Led by Invincible and his father Omniman, the coalition took the fight to the Viltrumite home world, literally destroying it in the onslaught that ensued. With numbers dwindling, Freddie Mercury took the remaining Viltrumites and disappeared into space. It didn’t take Mark long to figure out where they went… EARTH!

WELL THAT WAS UNEXPECTED

I’ll say this for Robert Kirkman, just when you think you have his writing style nailed, and you can predict three issues out what he is going to do next, he pulls a swerve. The scariest thing in the known universe is the dark recesses of the mind, and as Omniman, Mark, and Tech Jacket spend a week headed back to Earth, the worst things imaginable go through Mark’s head; the planet in ruins, loved ones dead,Thragg lording over the chaos as the new ruler of Earth.
Except when they arrive, everything is perfectly normal.

And this is where Kirkman pulls a stalemate I didn’t see coming. Instead of destroying everything Mark loves, the Viltrumites have taken over the planet quietly. In exchange for not destroying the Earth, the Viltrumites agree to live among the humans, interbreed, and not get involved. Thragg’s thought process is in a thousand years, they will have rebuilt their numbers, and at that time they can begin their battle again. It’s a weird gambit to play, but the only option is for the Earth to be destroyed. Mark and Omniman agree, and the stage is set for what is to come.
I really wonder what Kirkman has planned in the long run for these characters. Those who want blood and guts may get their wish in a dozen issues or so, but I think Kirkman showed his hand when he had Omniman go on at length about how his time on Earth changed him, how human emotions became his emotions, and I wonder if in the long run the Viltrumites won’t breed themselves into extinction instead, being replaced by very strong humans. I doubt the series will ever last 60 years, but this may be Kirkman’s way of saying, “fear not, people of Earth.”

THE BEST AND THE WORST OF OTTLEY

Before you get too bent out of shape, when i say the worst of artist Ryan Ottley, I’m certainly not talking about his style – the man knows how to draw some powerful images. What I mean by the worst is once again, Ottley draws up some of the worst imagery that flashes through Mark’s mind as he wonders how bad it will be when he gets home. The carnage is hard to look at as Ottley has never been one to hold back.

This issue is kind of an interesting dichotomy – one page is filled with horrors, while the next page is filled with peace, harmony, and butterflies. This is a showcase issue for Ottley, even if it isn’t apparent on the first read.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT

This is a huge story changer for the Invincible series. Kirkman is able to twist the tale to his advantage, while giving everyone what they want; blood shed, happiness, and a continuation of a great hero. Ottley delivers another bang up job on the art, and Image gets kudos for releasing this series day-and-date on the iPad. You can’t go wrong with Invincible, and this issue is a good one, earning 4.5 Stars out of 5.

Rating: ★★★★½

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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5 Comments

  1. Kirby
    February 3, 2011 at 9:21 am — Reply

    Really this is one of the more gripping cliffhangers in Invincible. Halfway through the speech, I kept reading it as the opening from Highlander.

  2. Brainlock
    February 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    I finally broke down and bought the first two HCs online for about $20 each last fall.
    I see that I’ve been missing out on a great story…but one I probably wouldn’t have the patience for on a monthly basis.

    Kirkman knocks it out of the park on this tale, but again, the story just moves a tad too slow for me and I don’t think I’d buy it monthly.

    there are a couple titles like this, that I enjoy in trade/collected form, but I can’t see myself buying every month. Hell, I used to get most of the Big 2’s output at one point, but kept dropping titles, until I now have 1-2 Marvel and a handful of DC books, and that’s it. A few trades a year from other pub’s, is all I get. I’ve tried a handful of other Image books over the years, but never stuck with them long. [shrug]

  3. Big Al
    February 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    I think what Kirkman is trying to say, and he telegraphed it in the discussion between Mark and his fathe,r when his father Omniman said, that his exposure to earth has changed him emotionally. I think what is going to happen is Thragg is will find that his hybrid Viltrumites are emotionally attached to their mates and the planet and that he has lost the war.

  4. Big Al
    February 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm — Reply

    One last point I’d like to make. Thragg said, the humans were “our last hope for survival” but he also said they will not interfere with any matters on earth. Well that doesn’t seem like a promise you can keep. What if your species’ last hope for survival is threatened, say by by another alien for example, or a disease? Are you going to stand by and do nothing? Might be easier said than done. It would make more sense for them to be allies.

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