Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Based on a comic book series of the same name from The Walking Dead alumni Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, Invincible is the story of fledgling superhero Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), and his trials and tribulations along the way!
So, this is an entirely new animated ‘verse of superheroes and supervillains, a storyline with the Guardians of the Globe, the coalition of superheroes set to defend Earth against any and all comers, led by the rather arrogant Omni-Man, who also happens to be Mark’s father. Or it would be, except that the very first episode features the incredibly violent mystery murders of the entire Guardians gang, except for, you guessed it, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons) himself.
These executions, because let’s face it that’s exactly what they are, are essentially the catalysts for everything else that happens on the show – the awakening of Mark’s burgeoning superhero powers, the need to form a new team of superheroes to protect Earth, the investigation into those murders involving the Demonic Detective Damian Darkblood (Clancy Brown) and the Global Defense Agency led by Cecil Steadman (Walton Coggins), and the eventual shedding of the harsh light of truth upon the incredibly dark and bloody reasons why for this whole mess.
The show is chock full of so many talented celebrity voices and brand spanking new characters but insists on focusing on the strained relationships betwixt Mark and his immediate family and his teammates in the newly-formed youngling-led group of superheroes taking up the mantle of Earth protection, leaving lost opportunities to explore the backstories of some of these more compelling character stories. Especially the original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, poor bastards, they barely got an episode introduction in before being so mercilessly slaughtered. It doesn’t help much that it seems like the original GotG are a bunch of DC knockoffs, with names like War Woman (Lauren Cohan), Green Ghost (Sonequa Martin-Green), Martian Man (Chad Coleman), Red Rush (Michael Cudlitz), Darkwing (Lennie James), and Aquarus (Ross Marquand) and even the Immortal (Ross Marquand). Even just the names make it pretty easy to guess which well-known characters these new guys are ‘inspired by’. It isn’t until the New Guardians are formed from the Teen Team, featuring Robot (Zachary Quinto), Rex Splode (Jason Mantzoukas), Dupli-Kate (Malese Jow), Shrinking Rae (Grey Griffin), Monster Girl (Grey Griffin and Kevin Michael Richardson), Black Samson (Khary Payton), and Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs), that the show seems to launch into even semi-original content. Also let us not forget the somewhat more normal aspects of Marks life getting dragged into this nonsense – his new girlfriend Amber Bennett (Zazie Beetz), best friend and gay confidante William Clockwell (Andrew Rannells), Mark’s poor beleaguered mother Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh), and a special guest voice appearance from Mark Hamill as Art Rosenbaum, superhero suit tailor extraordinaire and friend to many of the old-guard superheroes.
And boy, is that original content incredibly violent. One can safely assume that any new superhero show led by the guys from The Walking Dead was going to be massively bloody and gore-tastic, but the middle and finale episodes of Invincible throw in the massacre and decimation and utter anguish tolls by the tanker-truck-load. It’s hard to accurately describe the epic scale of slaughter on the show, especially as things gain momentum and Mark, even while his newly-flowering powers and his high-school-dating life are majorly angsting him out man, is utterly devastated when he learns the cause for all this nightmarish extermination and death, and Mark’s own supposed destiny involved in it. Because, can you really call a being responsible for mass multiple genocides, a superhero?
Bathe in ALL THAT BLOOD and the misguided moral struggles of would-be superheroes in Invincible, on Amazon Prime Video now!