REVIEW: Invincible #96
Robot and Monster Girl, longtime (incredibly long time) rulers of the Flaxan, grew estranged as their philosophies diverged. Eventually, they reunited, but not before Monster Girl made, as Gob Bluth would say, a huge mistake. Read on in this Major Spoilers review.
Ryan Ottley’s superhero battle
Suffers from a bout of mediocrity
Previously in Invincible: Rex, Amanda and the rest of the Guardians battled a Flaxan invasion led by Monax, the son of Monster Girl.
AT LEAST IT WASN’T ALL A DREAM
Robot and Monster Girl’s Flaxan flashback winds down as the two, plus the other Guardians of the Globe, battle the invading horde with special emphasis on Monster Girl’s son by a Flaxan female, who happens to be the new emperor.
I struggled to write the review of this issue because I was looking for either something exceptional or something terrible, but the whole issue was fairly average. If I’m being honest I didn’t really enjoy this issue until the last three pages, and even then it was more of a mere uptick in my opinion rather than a dramatic turnaround. The dialog was cliched and predictable, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that—it just wasn’t gripping and it made me feel like I was slogging through the book rather than reading it.
I guess the best way to describe my problem with this issue is to say that it felt like part of an issue. It’s as though Kirkman wanted to wrap up the threads of issue #95 while telling a story of Amanda’s guilt over both cheating on Rex and becoming a deadbeat dad/mom/gender ambiguous parent in the process but ran out of steam with about nine pages left to fill. Consequently we’re given a few pages—Mark bidding farewell his brother and Allen—that not only don’t belong, but also lack the emotion of the rest of the story. Rex and Amanda’s story is told extremely well, though, and I doubt it would have been improved by needlessly stretching such a tightly told tale. I unabashedly loved the last page, though, as it reminds me of just how inhuman Rex can be, despite appearances.
In my heart of hearts I hope this issue pays off later with Monster Girls insane hybrid child returning as a new recurring villain in either “Invincible” or “Guardians of the Globe.” I’m disappointed though, if this means the end of those periodic Flaxan invasions—they were some of my favorite parts of the series.
MY HOMEBOYS TRIED TO WARN ME
I’ve found it almost impossible to fault Ryan Ottley’s superhero battle art in “Invincible” and this was no exception. While Ottley drew pages 4-19, Cory Walker was responsible for the few pages set on the Flaxan homeworld and I didn’t care for them as much. Maybe it’s because they were more dramatic and less action-oriented, but it might also be that the clothing and setting made me think I was reading a “Revolutionary Girl Utena” comic.
I would have liked to see the battle sequence go on a bit longer, but its brevity appears designed to showcase both Rex’s tactical brilliance and the superiority of the Guardians. As it stands, however, it peters out right in the middle of its visual stride.
Eve pops in for a few panels after Mark parts ways with Oliver and Allen, but I can’t tell if she’s still Voluptuous Eve or has gone back to Waif Eve. I’ve been a sporadic Invincipal for most of the year, so I’m not sure if she’s lost the weight or not. Robert Kirkman, if you read this, please keep her on Sir Mix-A-Lot’s speed dial.
BOTTOM LINE: NOT BAD, BUT MAYBE NEXT TIME
As I said, this is a fine issue if you’re already a fan of “Invincible” and are invested in the current storyline, but it suffers from a bout of mediocrity. If you’re looking to jump back into the book in anticipation of issue #100, then maybe wait until next issue. I just expected a little more than Kirkman was offering this time around. Two and a half stars.