THIS ISSUE RELEASES ON 5/21/2014
After last issue’s jaw-dropping horror, I honestly had no idea what to expect from this particular outing. Invincible manages to make himself semi-presentable and immediately goes to Cecil to tell him about everything that occurred in the other dimension, but explanations can’t be fully given as things escalate quickly and viciously. Then they just keep RIGHT on escalating until the very last page. It didn’t really occur to me that last issue was actually the FIRST of a new arc, or if it did, I’d forgotten by this issue and if this is how this story STARTS in its first two issues...I’m terrified to know how it’s going to proceed. Robert Kirkman keeps the cast small and everyone comes off extremely well-defined and the villain in particular has an absolutely great motive, even referencing Dinosaurus and Invincible working together. It’s been fascinating watching both Invincible and his antagonist develop so well both against and in tandem with one another, so both their motives are fleshed-out and make a certain degree of sense. When Invincible returns home, the scene is written with grotesque brutality and things are at their most desperate by issue’s end.
Ryan Ottley’s pencils, Cliff Rathburn’s inks and John Rauch’s colors...I’m not sure what more I can say. It’s amazing how every new artistic team completely redefines the tone and becomes the default look almost immediately. The tone and tenor of the book shifts and molds its way around the art (which is also a credit to Kirkman as a versatile writer). The sheer level of detail present in every panel is astounding, and no panel looks boring nor static, and it all looks like it belongs in the universe (as in possessing backgrounds).
Just once I’d like to see someone fool the villain into thinking the have the upper hand. Situations where the villain doesn’t know the full extent of what the hero knows, but instead of keeping it close to the vest, they declare it. I realize that’s an awkward sentence, but without tipping my hand into spoiler territory, I’ll just say it’s like a reverse-James Bond villain monologue. In this case it may not have averted what comes next, but a nod to it would’ve gone a long way.
Speaking of well-worn tropes, we get another one that is very specific to this book between Invincible and Eve. It’s not problematic YET, but it’s verging on becoming repetitive and almost cliche.
Books often dip after a particularly shocking or high-quality issue. Not Invincible. Invincible shines under pressure like the diamond it is and ascends to an even higher quality. At this point, I’m pretty sure it’s in lower-Earth orbit. I used to joke that Invincible got better and better with every passing issue, but the longer the series went on, the less it became a joke. And while it hasn’t been true 100% of the time, this is one time among many that the issue tops the one that preceded it. Who KNOWS what #112 will bring?