Pick of the Week
What did the
art & cover RYAN OTTLEY
Size: 28 pages
The last time I picked Invincible as pick of the week, I started out by referring to the slogan above the logo on the cover: “The Best Superhero Comic Book In The Universe!” This time, I’m back there because with Invincible #89 which says “The Best Superhero Comic Book In The Universe JUST GOT BETTER!” and you know what, it sure did. What’s further is that in addition to that truthful statement, this issue is not only a GREAT jumping on point for new readers, but it’s a great example of HOW to make a great jumping on point for new readers.
So, before I expand on why I enjoyed Invincible #89, I just want to make sure everyone notes that THIS IS A GREAT JUMPING ON POINT! Ok? Moving on.
We’ve known that Invincible would be moving to this point for a while, as last year at Wonder Con in San Francisco, Image Comics released the teaser of someone else in the Invincible costume. Someone who was not actually Mark Grayson (Invincible’s alter ego) and for a little bit of shock value, this someone was a black man. With nearly a year of anticipation, as I sat down to read Invincible #89, I wondered how Kirkman and Ottley would be able to make this work, to not have it appear as a gimmick and see how it fits into the story. Sure enough, they did it again.
I’ve been having some ongoing discussions with friends in the comics industry about the curse of longevity. How years ago, a comic book that had been around for decades, with a high issue number was a prized and valued thing and how today, it’s become the opposite. With new #1 issues at every turn, and series rebooting and restarting, it seems as if the legacy of an ongoing series is a thing of the past. And yet, there’s a select group of books, Invincible included among them, that are continuing that legacy, month in and month out. Delivering stories and an ongoing plot that is engaging and rewarding to long time readers. And yet, the way the world exists now, it becomes harder and harder to see an long running book maintain a level of interest and success. Not that Invincible or any of the other books in this category are failures, but rather they become noticed less because they’re so good month in and month out. Sometimes we call this the BKV effect, because every issue of a Brian K. Vaughan series continues to be great and after a while it becomes difficult to say anything other than, “This is a great book.” But that’s the thing, we need to keep saying that and hopefully others will take notice or we run the risk of losing this great book in our hands every month.
That said, Invincible is a great superhero comic book. Every month Kirkman and Ottley are able to remind me why I do love superhero comics. They remind me that superhero comics can be funny, dramatic, action packed and totally unexpected. As I look at the superhero books I’ve been reading for decades, I can’t think of a single book that’s nearly as creative, entertaining and sometimes so batshit crazy that you can’t not appreciate it. For example, packed into this issue are aliens, a genius Dinosaur man (which never fails to make me laugh), blood and gore, and high emotions. It really does have a little bit of everything. Whenever I meet someone who doesn’t read Invincible, I feel bad for them because they truly are missing out.
What makes Invincible #89 so good? As I mentioned above, the book is a great jumping on point, but it’s also a fantastic read for loyal readers. If you watched the interview with Robert Kirkman we posted earlier today from Image Expo, you heard Kirkman talk about how he has long term plans for all of the comics he writes. It’s funny that then, today, this issue comes out and completely proves to me that this is indeed the case. Plot threads that have been laid out for the past 20+ issues all start to converge and you get a sense of a total control in where the story is going and how it affects the characters within it.
This issue picks up with a flashback to an earlier point where we see the groundwork laid for the man who will pick up the Invincible mantle (I want to avoid spoiling the surprise, in case any of you read Invincible in trade or haven’t read this issue yet, so forgive me if I’m vague on the details of the events of this issue), and with that simple device, we get a pretty good idea of the direction the story will take. But Kirkman and Ottley are able to pace the story just right, and mix in events that got us to this issue in just the right way, so that when the issue concludes with the reveal, it packs a wallop. That wallop comes mainly from a stunning two page spread by Ottley that will tug at the heart strings of any long time Invincible reader, or inspire someone who decided to pick this issue up for the first time. We say it again and again, but Ryan Ottley’s art can deliver on such a visceral level, it’s ridiculous how good these pages look, even when there’s no dialogue. In fact, even pages where it’s JUST dialogue, Ottley is as impressive as the big action sequences. The guy can do it all. But the last two pages of this issue really sing.
It’s a tricky thing, to take a long running superhero title and avoid the #1 issue reboot trick or a dramatic creative team change (something I hope never happens to this book), and be able to deliver an issue that is both accessible to new readers, deliver on a long ago hyped announcement and satisfying to long time readers. Invincible #89 not only switches things up in a natural way, it introduces a new plot development that had me immediately gasping, wondering what it all means! This is how you do great superhero comics. I laugh at how easy Kirkman and Ottley make it look, but the reality is what they do is special and unique and, in my opinion, deserving of alot more credit.
Anyone who likes superhero comics should be reading Invincible, it’s just as simple as that.
I was a little disappointed it wasn’t Kaboomerang
Give it a try! Read Invincible #89 RIGHT NOW: