Invincible (Season 1)
Invincible (2021-) Season 1 review
Invincible is an animated superhero series on Amazon Prime based on the comic book series by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, who was also involved in the creative process of this series. The story follows Mark Grayson, the half-human son of an alien superhero who finally gets his own powers, only to discover that being a superhero is harder than it looks… The season wrapped up this past weekend with a bang, holding its strong reception from critics and audiences throughout the season.
At first, I didn’t really like Invincible to be honest. I thought the story was a bit typical, the animation was a little rough, and the sudden shocking violence was totally over the top. (I do still think all three of those things.) But as the weeks went on, I kept watching and falling in love with this show! Okay love is a strong word; it’s only the first season… But I should give an early warning, if you are remotely interested, check out the first episode. If you can’t watch any more, I don’t blame you. However if you are genuinely intrigued after, it only gets better!
So before I really get into the series, I want to talk about the thing that Invincible does best: the tone. Now when I say tone, I don’t just mean the balance of drama, action, and comedy, all of which IS well handled! But I mean the more serious nature the superhero series aims to tackle. Not unlike Amazon’s other superhero series The Boys (2019-), Invincible looks at superhero life from a more grounded and realistic approach, rarely sugar-coating the difficulties that it would come with. This includes many unconventional story beats, as unlike The Boys, Invincible still aims high for a more traditional story.
Now the question becomes, can Invincible manage to pull of a standard superhero story with all the drama, imperfections, and extreme violence that would come with it in the grounded world the series is set? Somehow yes, yes it does. Quite well actually. Does this mean that you should not watch Invincible if you don’t want to see an occasionally very heavy amount of violence? Yeah this isn’t your average superhero show. But I need to applaud the way this show uses its violence. There is one moment early on that felt shocking simply for the sake of it, and I almost didn’t want to watch any more. But as the series went on, I realized it was a method to showcase just what kind of show this is going to be. By the end, that level of violence was put to good use to create sequences that become hard to watch not because they are violence, but because of the heavy implications of said violence. Invincible is a show that takes the idea of collateral damage seriously, and in doing so, does it better than has ever been done before.
Now since there are spoilers to be had, I don’t want to say too much about what to expect from this show in the long run. But I can say that, despite being mostly episodic in nature with an overarching plot, Invincible does a wonderful job at keeping the focus on the growth of its titular superhero as a character. This story is about Mark and how growth as a character as he discovers not only how to become a superhero, but what it means to be one. And it rarely loses focus, using the strong supporting cast like his father Omni-Man, his human friends, or the Teen Team (off-brand Teen Titans), who are also going through similar growth as Mark.
Now there are a few subplots that don’t seem to go very far by the end. This is probably because they just have room to grow in the next few seasons, but introducing ideas only to have them not deliver a payoff is always a risk. Overall, I don’t think it hurts the show too much. That said, there are a few odd moments throughout the series that confusingly go nowhere. There’s one scene where a mummy wakes up, and that NEVER comes back into play. Maybe its a villain for later seasons, but it’s an odd choice to introduce that mid-season and never mention it again…
Now one of the things I found most odd was that, with the exception of the fantastic final episodes, I seemed most invested when the series was at its most typical. Invincible goes through the ‘date in real like while keeping your secret identity’ story, and that’s been done before over and over and over again. Yet I think I was more drawn in during this arc than I was for the first few episodes. Why? Well that just goes to show the power of giving something a twist. You star your series straight-forward but with one or two little twists, then everything you do after that may or may not follow suit depending if it fits the narrative well or not. It’s pretty smart.
Now I don’t know what the production budget was for this season, but I do hope it increases for next season. It didn’t look bad, but I think it could have looked much better. For every fantastic or unique animation effect, there seem to be an almost equal amount of perfectly average ones, like flying sequences where Mark doesn’t really move with the background quite right, or superspeed that is just a streak, and so on. That said, as flawed as the animation is from time to time, it also obeys the realistic laws of the series brilliantly.
Invincible is unlike any superhero show you’ve seen before, and by that, I mean it’s ALMOST unlike any superhero show you’ve seen before. The idea of doing this comic-book style animated series filled with elements like extreme violence, marriage problems, and not always being able to punch your way out of situations absolutely works, quite well if you ask me. It’s not perfect, but honestly, I REALLY liked it! I liked the characters, I liked the action sequences and the healthy blend of comedy and the difficulties that real people would have to face if they were in these positions- heck the Nick Fury of the series might be the most interesting character for those reasons! Is it for everyone? No definitely not. But like I said before, check out the first episode, and it it isn’t for you, that’s okay. But boy does this season land on a high note! You know what, 8/10 so far. It’s awesome!
So Invincible, Season 1? Did you watch it yet? What did you think? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, be sure to let us know in the comments what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince