REVIEW: Invincible #100

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The Greatest Superhero Comic in the Universe hits its milestone 100th issue, and things don’t look too good for Mark Grayson! Major Spoilers reviews Invincible #100 and lets you know if it lived up to the hype!

Invincible 100 coverINVINCIBLE #100
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Inker: John Rauch
Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound imprint)
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in InvincibleMark Grayson lost his invincibility. Kid Omni-Man accidentally infected him with a virus that was designed to kill Viltrumites, and after the Viltrumites (who are now living on Earth, interbreeding with humans to bolster the Viltrumite population) teamed up with the often-villainous Dinosaurus (who Invincible had convinced that maybe Earth could be saved WITHOUT killing people)  to save Mark’s life. Unfortunately, in the process he was weakened and lost his powers–but those recently came back, and when Mark went to check on Dinosaurus he found that he’d enacted a plan to reduce the Earth’s population significantly in order to save humanity. Understandably Mark wasn’t too pleased, and the two resorted to blows in an all-splash-page homage to Superman #75. That left off on the typical Invincible cliff-hanger where it certainly seemed like Mark’s head was about to be squished like a grape.

POP GOES THE GRAYSON

Page one picks up right where Invincible #99 left off, with Dinosaurus squeezing Invincible’s head… right to (and well past) the point of bursting. Ryan Ottley has always excelled at gore, and this page and the ensuing one (in which we see Grayson’s brain and an eyeball exploding from his crushed skull) is Ottley at his grotesque best. In a well-crafted turn of events, the news team that intended to broadcast Invincible’s victory over Dinosaurus live to the world ends up broadcasting his gruesome demise, and we get a two page spread with over fifty panels of people (including one that looks suspiciously like Clark Kent) reacting to the death of Invincible.

A SHOCKING VARIETY

While a lot of people praise Ottley’s ability at drawing violence and gore, this spread reminded me why I’ve been such an Ottley fan in the incredible nuance he adds to what could have just been fifty-plus people having the same shocked expression. There are people clearly in mid-gasp, people caught eating while watching television, people in wide-mouthed shock, people gritting their teeth in pain, at least one individual not seeming particularly troubled by the news, and the abject horror on Eve’s face nearly brought ME to tears. You can feel all the emotions these characters are expressing, and it’s all thanks to Ottley’s INCREDIBLE artwork.

THE FALLOUT

Things move forward from there, and rather than stringing us along as to whether or not Invincible would be resurrected somehow, Kirkman lets us know right away that the Mark Grayson that Dinosaurus killed was actually a failed clone, a la Final Crisis, having stolen the teleportation technology when he was given free reign healing Invincible aboard the Viltrumite ship. It all makes an incredible amount of sense for a comic book, and Kirkman uses this as a chance to throw a bunch of dialogue at us. It’s a welcome denouement, as the issues leading up to this have put much more emphasis on the fighting, and I’ve always been more of a fan of the quiet, talking issues of Invincible.

Kirkman also gives us a set of more personal reaction moments, as The Immortal returns to active duty and Angstrom Levy returns (his portal comically underwater) to find the headline that Invincible has died.

DINO-SORE-US

Mark Grayson and Dinosaurus have a real heart-to-heart about their attempts to save the world, which Mark firmly believes were botched when Dinosaurus decided to kill people to save more, and the realization is come to by both parties that the only way to really save the world is for Dinosaurus to die. This is a big moment in Invincible, as Kirkman plays off a lot of villain/hero tropes and uses it to return Mark to his old Invincible role working for the government, but with a lot more maturity under his belt and responsibility on his shoulders. Mark is reunited with his parents and Eve, and the issue ends with yet another Kirkman Cliffhanger, one that will change Invincible’s life forever… again.

BOTTOM LINE: THE CULMINATION OF EVERYTHING INVINCIBLE

This issue is one of my favorites in the entirety of the Invincible series. Kirkman took a build-up that had been stalling a bit and really drove EVERYTHING home, and gave us those small character moments that have made Invincible great over the years alongside the epic story he has crafted. Kirkman also managed to deliver an incredibly tight plot in this issue, giving us all the superhero moments we love while avoiding the tropes that major publishers find necessary and fans always complain about. The incredible range of Ottley’s art is at its most evident in this issue, and really Invincible 100 delivers on every level. Also worth noting are the wonderful inks of Cliff Rathburn and the John Rauch’s colors, making Ottley’s art pop on every page. This team has become a well-oiled machine, and Invincible #100 benefits greatly from it, earning 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

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