Invincible is a superhero comic that has never shied away from the bizarre and the unexpected, but the storyline involving the Flaxan Empire, a race of interdimensional conquerors that would periodically invade Earth only to be foiled by the differences in how time moves in our dimension, I think few readers believed it would go the direction it did with Monster Girl fathering, yes, you read that correctly, an alien child. The child was part of another failed invasion, and was also an incredibly strong giant, but seeing the two of them interact not as combatants but as father/mother and child is actually incredibly moving. Robert Kirkman does a great job of sowing seeds of what will no doubt be some top-level dischord down the road, and this isn’t even the main storyline. We get the return of Doc Seismic, who we last saw getting lava blasted and transformed by an unseen force. That force makes its presence felt, and while things don’t go well for them, we’ve definitely got the beginning of a strange new sub-plot. A member of the Viltrumite Empire also enters the story in perhaps the MOST unexpected way. Kirkman does a great job of not just writing the characters to develop them, but also to move the many plots forward while paying special attention to each one.
Ryan Ottley and John Rauch have, at this point, established themselves as one of the absolute power pairings in art and coloring. Ottley’s style is evocative of pulpy, ultra-stylized Frazetta-style proportions and battles while Rauch tints everything with a diverse range. The darks are shrouded in shadow and gloom while the brights are eye-catching and practically glowing on the page. The backgrounds are incredibly detailed, every panel contains an unreal amount of expression, and there’s not a single corner cut which is amazing for a book that still comes out on a consistent basis every month (with a couple of minor delays here and there). The visuals are the perfect compliment to the writing.
The whole Seismic/Volcanikka (I do so love the names in this series) battle is not only a tease, but comes off as window dressing for the rest of the issue. This is a storyline we’ve seen building over for awhile now and it feels like it’s over just a little too quickly for how much it was built up. It also leads to yet ANOTHER plot reveal, so it almost feels like a staggered climax.
We still get a great tease for what’s to come with the underground pair, so it’s not a completely wash, and the other two storylines absolutely deliver on all fronts, so it’s hard to hold it against them. We’re definitely in the setup process across the three plotlines and so far Kirkman’s been amazing at transitioning from setup to execution, so I’m absolutely willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and strap myself in for the ride.