You are warned, here be spoilers.
My first thought, on spotting Invincible #65 on the shelf, held straight through until I closed the back cover: Why on Earth did I stop buying Invincible?
This series is, and always has been, an absolute joy to read. On the one hand, the plot – and in many ways the characters – are pure Silver Age silliness, with invading mind-control parasites, giant monsters from the deep, and green-skinned armies from time-altered dimensions. But at the same time… I was going to make a Joss Whedon reference, but that’s not quite right. This feels like a deconstruction, an ironic, Buffy-esque snark-fest, but it’s really not. The characters are far too earnest. This series feels like something totally new, and yet if I sit back and look at the premise… it’s about a teenager who grows up and finds out his father’s a superhero, and that he’s inherited his father’s powers, and isn’t that the coolest thing ever?
What can I say about one issue that isn’t true of all of them? We care about the characters and want to see them happy, find the villains just a touch too hammy to be hateful, and end up chuckling at almost every development. The whole thing feels very low stakes – even when bad things happen, they’re not going to make us, the audience, feel particularly down – but the comic never suffers for it.
Partly it’s the pacing. Every issue seems to whisk by far too quickly to allow sadness. Like, “Oh God, noooo!” “No time for that now, kid, the Lizard League is attacking again!” – and boom, the comic’s moved on to something else. It’s quick and light and deft. And, unlike in Whedon’s work, good things sometimes happen to good people.
This issue has its negatives, as does the series as a whole. It’s so heavily serialized it cries out for a recap at the start of each issue. That nearly every issue ends on a gasp-of-shock note can become aggravating. This particular issue ends on four gasp-of-shock notes, which pushes it over past annoying and well into awesome again. (Seriously; in the last five pages of this issue, we get four scenes whose last lines could be accompanied by an ominous “DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNNN!”.)
In any event, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Can’t wait to see what Kirkman comes up with next, and can’t wait to see the cartoony-yet-gorgeous way Ottley will draw it.