Invincible #51


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Invincible #51


  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Ryan Ottley
  • Inks: Ryan Ottley
  • Colors: Fco Plascencia
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 23, 2008

Invincible gets a new costume and a new sidekick in the latest issue of new Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman's flagship hero title.

To my great shame, this is the first issue of Invincible I've read. I've followed The Walking Dead for years, and admired Kirkman's work on that book, but for reasons I really can't explain, I never picked up Invincible. The book sports a Jim Lee cover, as well as a graphic proclaiming the "51st issue," designed to look like a 1st issue in an obvious attempt to draw in new readers. In most ways it is very accessible, and the dialogue and characterizations are very strong and give a new reader a good feel for Mark Grayson and his personality. Other characters are well portrayed, but left unnamed, which is a little annoying. It wouldn't have been difficult to address the characters by name in the dialogue to help along the new reader.

Quite a few plot threads are woven into the issue. Thankfully, Invincible and his relationship with his little brother take the center stage. Oliver Grayson or Kid Omni-Man or Omni-Boy (the jury is still out!) is developing his powers under his older brother's direction, and shares the rash enthusiasm of the stereotypical teenage sidekick, jumping headlong into dangerous action. Kirkman's strength is that not only are his characters believable, but they are also very likable. Even the unnamed heroes from the "Teen Team," or the "Guardians of the Globe," are given distinct personalities with very little screen-time.

Invincible has been described as having the powers of Superman and the personality of Spider-Man, and I found that to be an accurate description. There is a scene where Mark is brooding on the roof of his house after having been called "Invinciboy" by a newscaster. This is innocent, charming superheroics in the early Silver Age Marvel tradition, and it’s a breath of fresh air.

Ryan Ottley's art is good, with an animation quality to the rendering. I cannot say I'm a huge fan of the new costume for Invincible. It always reminded me of the Fly costume from Impact comics of years ago. The styling on the costume is similar, but losing the yellow makes the suit a little drab. New colorist Fco Plascencia brings the four color world to life with an appropriately bright palette.

If you get the chance, the back cover of the book has an ad for www.invincibleseries.com, which features a preview of the MTV series coming soon. They have animated the comic with a cool process that uses the original art from the comic and voiceovers for the words. It looks great, and if the concept catches on, this could be a great vehicle for a great many comic books to get TV treatment for a good deal cheaper than standard animation.

I feel a little silly for not having looked into Invincible until now. Capable, intelligent writing, along with clean, slick artwork add up to an enjoyable superhero reading experience. Luckily, it’s readily available in TPB form, and I will enjoy seeking the earlier stories out.

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