Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Invincible 100, originally released January 30th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Well, here we are at issue 100 of Invincible AND the 1st Alternating Current about Invincible. Wait, what do you mean we’ve never covered this book before? Oh boy, we’ve got our work cut out for us this time. In all seriousness, this is actually the first time that Retcon Punch is tackling Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, and it was my bright idea to start covering it at issue 100. I was hoping that the issue would begin with some kind of summary of events leading up to what was happening in the current issue to give potential new readers a chance to catch up. Instead, we jumped right in where the previous issue left off. I shouldn’t have been surprised as this is simply Robert Kirkman’s style. His comics don’t have previously pages, nor does he have his characters awkwardly dole out exposition in order to catch readers up. You’ve either read the previous issues or you haven’t. While this might make it difficult for new readers to jump aboard his series, it makes for the most seamless transitions between issues, and an overall story that feels more real. That said, it seems that Kirkman is, in fact, attempting to restore the main character to his roots somewhat, which might just make it a bit easier for new readers to jump aboard after all.
Issue 100 begins with…well, actually I’d rather just show you:
That is the head of one Richard Grayson AKA Invincible being squished by the hilariously named Dinosaurus, the one-time enemy, then ally, then expert head-squisher of Invincible. No need to be sad however as this isn’t actually Invincible, but merely a clone created by Dinosaurus in order to fool the world into thinking that Invincible had been killed. In the previous issue, Dinosaurus had flooded Earth’s major cities, killing hundreds of thousands. Invincible was indirectly responsible for the tragedy as he broke the villain out of prison in order to work with him, believing that he could use the insane dino-man’s intellect to actually help make the world a better place. Dinosaurus’ plan was to make the world think that Invincible was dead so that they could continue to work together in secret. However, Invinicble managed to convince the deranged dino that killing people was not the solution to saving the planet (go figure). That settled, Invincible was ready to be taken to jail in order to pay for his crimes. Dinosaurus knew that a more final solution was needed for himself as so asked Invincible to execute him. The deed done, Invincible walks out of Dinosaurus’ lair to meet his fate. Instead he meets Cecil (the Nick Fury of the Invincible Universe). Instead of sending Invincible to jail, he offers him a job. Invincible will work for Cecil again, much like how things worked 100 issues ago. Elsewhere, the other heroes of the world were able to set the sea level back to where it belongs and start rebuilding the cities that were destroyed. Back at home, Atom Eve is relieved to learn that Invincible didn’t actually die, and reveals that she is pregnant.
So, the title of this story arc is “The Death of Everyone,” and no, you didn’t just miss the part in my summary where I told you that everyone died because it never actually happened. There wasn’t even a symbolic death of everyone in this story that I could see. Dinosaurus’ plan did kill about a million people but that’s hardly everyone, and the only main character that died was Dinosaurus himself, and he was basically just a villain. I can’t help but feel a bit duped by all of this, and I’m trying hard not to let that color how I feel about this issue in general.
So, where does that leave us? Overall, I did enjoy this issue as it was the conclusion of a long running character arc that had Invincible continuing to believe that he knew what was best for the world. He believed that he and Dinosaurus could actually do good for the world, even when everyone else that he was nuts to think so. While it’s true that Dinosaurus’ goal was to “help” the world, he did so in less than traditional ways that generally involved the deaths of many. Invincible had thought he’d convinced Dinosaurus to change his ways, and the destruction seen in the last few issues was the price paid for Invincible’s hubris. I’m interested to see how Mark handles the weight of the death he inadvertently caused, and how this will change him as a person and as a hero. The world, and its other heroes, also know that Mark was partially responsible for the tragic events so I wonder how the world will now treat their once beloved Invincible. The next panel also intrigues me, and I wonder exactly how much freedom Invincible will truly have.
Regardless of how much trust remains between these two characters, I imagine that we’ll be seeing a return to the more familiar elements of this book. Invincible will once again be working under the supervision of the Global Defense Agency and probably with the Guardians of the Globe to some capacity as well. I’m extremely excited about these prospects as it was simply fun to see him working alongside other heroes on a regular basis. One of the biggest strengths this book has is that it’s not just about Invincible. Kirkman has created an entire superhero universe in this book, and I’m looking forward to Invincible and the rest of the cast interacting more with each other.
Ryan Ottley continues his impressive artistic run on the title. Take a look at the reaction of “Invincible’s” death. Here we see a good mix of civilians, loved ones, heroes, villains, the President, and…hmm…is that? Nah, it couldn’t be. Could it?
So Patrick, this write-up is a bit of an experiment as while I’ve been following this series since issue 1, you’ve only started with issue 100. I’m extremely curious to know what you think about this issue. I’d imagine it’s difficult to invest yourself emotionally with any of these characters since Kirkman doesn’t do too much to explain who any of them are. So, were you able to enjoy this at all? Are you interested to see what these characters will get up to in the next 100 issues? Or, is Invincible simply one of those stories that you need to get into from the start? I eagerly await your response.
Patrick: I solicited a little more information on this series than simply jumping in cold on issue 100. I went all the way back to the year 2012 and picked up Invincible 98,99 and 100. I’m basically an Invincible expert at this point.
Just to get it out of the way — I enjoyed this issue quite a bit, but 99 is the money issue. Ottley has such an incredible eye for dynamic staging, and every single panel in issue 99 takes up the WHOLE PAGE. The entire issue is just a city-spanning fight between Dinosaurus and Invincible, and by foregoing paneling conventions, it gives the impression that this fight is the most important thing in the world. It’s an absolutely phenomenal experience, and is a stunning centerpiece for the ‘Death of Everyone’ story arc.
Also, dude, I think the story is appropriately titled. There’s a lot of discussion in issue 100 about the role of Invincible in this universe. Principally, how best to apply a Superman-like resource. This is something Dan Slott is exploring in The Superior Spider-man right now – is it enough for a superhero to rescue individuals or this their social responsibility greater? For all of Dinosaurus’ moustache-twirling, he is effectively correct on two different fronts: A) reducing the human population would be good for the environment; and B) if the world population doesn’t expect Invincible to fight criminals, he can devote his attentions to making a bigger difference in the world. Point A is negated by Mark’s argument in the issue (that human beings were this close to doing something about global warming), but also just by the fact that sinking Greenland is going to achieve a hell of a lot more than just flooding the coasts of all continents – I mean, dude fucked up the planet. But Point B remains undisputed. I love that, but issue’s end, Mark has this new/old organization to direct his efforts – hopefully toward something bigger than just fightin’ crime. That means that Point B ends up becoming a reality – and all because millions of people died.
That’s all part ‘n’ parcel with Mark growing up a little. He has a conversation with Eve at the end of the issue, saying as much. It’s punctuated with the ultimate in “it’s time to grow the hell up” statements: Eve announcing that she’s pregnant. Now there’s not just a social responsibility to be a better hero, but an immediate-family obligation. I don’t know anything about their relationship, but I hope hope hope that Grayson’s a good dude, and we can see the adventures of brand new parents (who also just so happen to be superheroes).
Hey, I made an assumption right there: Atom Eve is a superhero of some kind, right? And their friends from space… superheroes, too? Wait, are they Mark’s parents? No, I won’t look it up.
There are a lot of characters filling out this world, and I understand NONE of them. It’s okay though – I remember the first time I tired to read Green Lantern: Rebirth with no prior knowledge of comic books. Let’s just say I’m comfortable in the deep end. Also, Kirkman does an excellent job of not making the relationships between these characters too obtuse to understand at first glance. Take this black Brainiac-lookin’ motherfucker:
I may not know whether he’s upset that he now won’t be able to a) get revenge on Invincible or b) get Invincible’s help to achieve vengeance, but it doesn’t really matter. This moment — like the whole of this story — is about Invincible. When I need to know who this guys is, I trust that Kirkman will introduce us gracefully.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?