Last issue will go down in history as one of the greatest twists in comic books. That’s a bold prediction, but when you’re 108 issues into the same character with the same writer and you’re STILL able to pull out a twist like THAT? That means more than just crafting an amazing moments, it means architecting it up through the years. Even if that precise thing wasn’t planned from the start, it was still led perfectly into. So how does issue 109 stack up? Admirably, would be the word that best describes it. Invincible has been stranded in the dimension of one of his imperialistic “others” with seemingly no way to return to his own dimension. Fortunately, he’s able to easily physically pass for the Emperor and enlists the help of THIS Dimension’s Robot, the greatest genius he can think of. But they can’t do it alone, so we get the return, even if it is in another dimension, of THE MAULER TWINS!...well only one, actually, but I’m still thrilled to see him. Robert Kirkman actually spends some time in this universe, establishing what it MIGHT have been like if Invincible had taken up his father’s wish to conquer Earth together (though Nolan isn’t anywhere to be found…) and this is actually something of a first. Though the book has often dealt with dimension-hopping, the only ones we’ve spent any real time in have been either desolate and devoid of life, or a cross-over with Spider-Man (I CANNOT emphasize enough that that actually happened. Canonically). It’s interesting not only to see other major characters in the book react so strongly to Mark, but to see part two of their plan and I actually wonder if we’ll ever return to this dimension because...well, that’s how Kirkman rolls. He sets up, he pays off YEARS down the line.
Ryan Ottley on pencils, Cliff Rathburn on inks and John Rauch on colors all know what they’re doing at this point. They likely dream in exaggerated, vivacious character designs that explode out of their dreams and onto the page and from the page back into OUR minds, and then into OUR dreams and THEN- oh no, it’s three days later...I guess what I’m trying to say is it would be easy for them to have started coasting, but every page of this book is incredible to behold. There were pages that I wished I had 3D glasses for, they were THAT detailed and absorbing. The layout is perfectly clear, the inks emphasize the little details and the color brings it all to life, what more can I say?
UPDATE/CORRECTION! Ryan Ottley has informed me that Grayson tore out his own hair, but due to his impervious skin, there was no blood as a result.
How does Mark cut his hair so quickly? When Thragg comes to check on him, he uses his super speed to change into his doppelgangers clothes, but he’s also shaved his hair down to a mohawk. Setting aside the Superman quandry of having super strong hair, there likely wasn’t a shaver in that lab. I led with the far, far more nitpicky one, because the next one is SLIGHTLY spoilerish.
Mark escapes this dimension in this very issue thanks to Robot, but I would’ve liked to see how this dystopian dimension stacked up to the “main” Invincible one. The few differences we see, one IN PARTICULAR near the end, are absolutely amazing and very, very intriguing, so I’m curious what else was different.
The Best Superhero Comic in the Universe! I don’t know how long that’s been the tagline for this book, but it’s been real, real accurate, especially lately. This most recent arc feels like it’s building toward something incredible and I am absolutely sold on taking that journey. I truly cannot wait for next issue, nor the issue after THAT that's teased on the back cover of this book.