Pick of the Week

February 29, 2012 – Invincible #89

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.5
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 16.1%
Users who pulled this comic:
art & cover RYAN OTTLEY

Size: 28 pages
Price: 2.99

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! Okay? 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 a lot more credit.

Anyone who likes superhero comics should be reading Invincible, it’s just as simple as that.

Ron Richards
I was a little disappointed it wasn’t Kaboomerang!


  1. Yes! Thank you Ron for choosing this as the pick of the week! Invincible has been for years my all-time favorite comic for years. It’s so inventive and fun and more people really need to read it. Also, Ryan Ottley (also my favorite artist) is criminally unappreciated in the industry. Great choice.

  2. this is one of those series i’ve always wanted to read, but felt a bit intimidated by the numbering. I might jump on here.

  3. Great pick, Ron. This was a good issue, but I have to go with Orc Stain as my pick. Hell, I’m not even done with my stack and I know nothing’s gonna even touch it. Stokoe fucking KILLED IT. Well worth, the 100000 year wait.

  4. Invincibizzle fo shizzle!

    • Dude, I know you probably didn’t mean any harm, but at no point did the character stepping in for Mark talk like that. If Snoop Dogg had stepped in to fill the role of Invincible (which, let’s face it, would also have been pretty cool) it would have been all good. My bad if you actually speak/type in -izzles all the time.

    • What harm did I cause? Did I say something negative? Don’t get it twisted. I was just happy Invincible got POTW. Didn’t know I would get scrutinized for how I speak/post on here. Next time I’ll say “right on” so no one else gets butt-hurt.

    • Homie, calm down. You’re one of those white guys that gets offended for black people, aren’t you. Instantly adding “izzle” to anything means it has to be a black thing. God forbid it’s wormed its way into the cultural zeitgeist enough that people can use it, despite their skin being white.

  5. Gotta give my pick to Orc Stain as well. There’s just nothing else out there quite like it. Though, this review makes me think of picking Invincible back up. I dropped it after the Viltrumite War when it felt like the book would just drag on forever.

  6. My shop ran out. made me sad.

  7. I came so close to taking this issue home, but left it on the shelf in favor of Batman Beyond. Hopefully tomorrow, I can rectify that.

  8. This is a great review and in a week of slim pickings it would be nice if I read this in issues instead of trade.

    However, I still can’t get away from the fact that Bendis swooped in and kinda made this a bit not so fresh….I’m not discounting Kirkman because I agree that he probably planned this for a long time and he made sure this big change was not for shock value. But I feel that if your a fan of both Ultimate Spider-Man and Invincible then seeing this feels like deja vu.

    (Waits the inevitable 5 seconds response on how wrong this opinion is)

    • I don’t feel that the existence of Miles discounts the new Invincible at all.

    • I dunno. I feel like it’s a similar hook, but it really doesn’t feel the same to me. Very different stories told with very different characters in very different books. But that’s just me.

    • I’m a fan of both books and I see where you’re coming from but I think the fact that it is viewed as shock value is the issue. The story is something we’ve seen in comics for a while, a hero is incapacitated and someone inspired by them steps up into the role. Who is to say you can’t be inspired by someone who doesn’t look just like you?

      Right now it comes off like a gimmick but hopefully in time it won’t. Heck, having people of different races in mundane commercials is even a step forward (black people use toothpaste? Who knew?). I don’t think your opinion is wrong but I’m actually looking forward to seeing something like this come of as normal instead of gimmicky or novel. At least as normal as one can get in a book featuring a dude named Dinosaurus.

      For a much more succinct (as well as a more complex) way to get to the same message check this out:

    • Iron Man in the 80s.

  9. Great review. Whenever I meet people who aren’t reading Invincible, I feel sorry for them too. That was funny. With many of the comic books I’m reading, I know I’m chasing the dragon to some extent. But that’s not the case with Invincible. It’s on a whole different level for me.

  10. look, I know it’s a great jumping on point but where should i start?

  11. After asking the question in the comic description, i picked up this issue before Ron’s reviewing after he plastered that this is new reader friendly, and he was right and i was not disappointed. Fantastic issue, haven’t read Invincible since issue #69 and im back in, hook, line and sinker. DAMN YOU KIRKMAN AND OTTLEY!!!

  12. We here at the cult of Invincible love it when ‘Vince is the POTW, exceeeellent.

  13. I thought about picking it up but decided against it because I buy so much I just can’t add any more new titles at the moment. Glad to see it was good for all the Invincible legion out there.

    No POW yet for me as life sort of got in the way of comics reading yesterday, so my stack sits undisturbed.

  14. @Ron: As for the “BKV” effect, what if you guys did a very brief “Still Great” list in the podcast?

    You guys could spend 15 seconds literally shouting out the titles of books that are still great, but don’t require more discussion. It might help maintain awareness of those books, and it should curb some of the “How come you guys never talk about [insert BKV effect title here]?!”

  15. I read this in trades but I might grab this issue anyway.

  16. Now I feel the compulsion to grab the Compendium and start reading everything afterwards! 0_o

    Why do you want my money so badddddddddddddddddddd!?

  17. I just want everyone to know that I 100% called it on who that is in the Invincible costume and even the significance of his being in it. Seriously, heck my comment history for when the teaser image was posted. I’m normally not one to be all about myself, but god damn I was so right and it feels so good. SUCK IT TREBEK!

  18. I’m going to read this series in hardcover, just want to read it from the beginning.

  19. This was a great issue. Probably my POTW as well. You nailed it, Ron. Kirkmanly and Ottmanly have got it goin’ on.

    Though I am a bit confused on the significance of who’s under the mask (aside from the obvious). I mean, I know the character, but it all seemed very sudden. Can anyone fill me in without spoiling it for non-readers? I read Invincible when it first came out, dropped it around issue #25 or 30 (for monetary reasons), and returned about ten issues ago (after the Viltrumite War). So I’m sure I’m missing something crucial. Help me out, Invincipals!

    • A neat thing about it is the guy who is now Invincible had been using the costume and superhero name Kirkman and Walker had been planning to use for the main character of the comic, before they had to change the comic to Invincible because another comic had the original character’s name in the title. When they changed the name to Invincible, they decided to also change the costume.

  20. Best comic being published currently, from any publisher.

  21. I started reading Invincible a few months back after realizing that I would never be able to start from the beginning and catch up. It’s one of about 5 comics I really look forward to each month and I barely have a grasp on who the characters are. I guess that’s a sign of a really well-written comic. It looks like a million bucks too.

Leave a Comment