Enter the dragon! Cecil’s arch nemesis, Liu, is dying and has lost control over the dragon inside him. Now everything’s getting wrecked and the Guardians of the Globe are pushing themselves to the limit and walking along the razor’s edge in an attempt to defeat the monster.
MUCH IMPROVED, BUT STILL GENERIC
My chief criticism of “Invincible Universe’s” inaugural issue was its slow pace. For a purported superhero action title, it read too much like a day-in-the-life story of Cecil Steadman. As predicted, this second installment paid back what I felt owed from last issue. The story picks up with Liu’s dragon attacking the base and the action follows the Guardians, et al, as they ineffectively flail their arms at it while Robot works furiously to save Liu’s life.
The story is fairly gripping even though the outcome is predictable early on, but there’s an emotional twist toward the end for which I didn’t care—it came out of nowhere, even though there were opportunities to lay groundwork for it. I realize Phil Hester likely intended its abruptness to shock the reader but, to me, it felt like lazy writing and a cheap heartstrings tug. On the upside, however, it leads to some personal development for another character, so at least there’s purpose behind it. My most pleasant surprise this issue was the dragon’s dialogue—he’s written like a classic serial villain from the 1930s.
Parts of this book seemed a little disjointed, but there simply was too much going on to allow for any kind of storytelling other than quick cuts from scene to scene—definitely quantity of characters over quality of story. In a curious production error, my review copy sported two inside front covers—one in the right place, and another right after the “Here Comes the Cavalry” double-truck spread. I wonder if a page of story was accidentally left out because of this and, if it were, would it have served to smooth some of the awkward bits of the tale?
SAME OLD, SAME OLD
The art in this title continues to underwhelm me. It’s not that it’s bad, it just feels too much like regular-ole “Invincible” with nothing to give it a visual identity independent of the mother title. Draw some characters off model once in a while, or do something to distinguish this book as something other than Robert Kirkman’s Team of Also-Ran Heroes.
Todd Nauck did a fantastic job on the two-page spread of heroes charging the dragon but, again, it’s nothing I wouldn’t expect to see in “Invincible.”
BOTTOM LINE: TWO AND I’M OUT
This isn’t a bad book, but it’s wholly average and I still haven’t discovered its raison d’être. Last month I said issue No. 1 was boring and, because of that, I wouldn’t be reading this one. But I decided I wanted to read about Chinese Dragon wrecking a government facility, so I made a liar of myself. Truthfully, though, my life would have been no poorer had I done otherwise. After two issues I think I can finally be firm in my judgment of this title: If monthly installments of “Invincible” aren’t enough to keep you sated, then start buying this. It’s not as good, has less focus and may struggle for a long time before it finds a groove, but it’s not a terrible book with which to tide yourself over, either. 2.5 stars.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!