Herochat

Comic Forums => General Comic Discussion => Topic started by: Jabroniville on January 04, 2018, 04:26:14 AM

Title: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 04, 2018, 04:26:14 AM
Since the series is finally ending in a month or two, I've been going over the old trades, starting from the beginning. It's bizarre how much different the comic used to be.

-The Early Trades are interesting- for the first eight issues, the book functions as more or less a Generic Teen Hero Book. And truthfully it was well-written enough, with an interesting enough world created, that they could have just kept going like that. Some early knock-off characters like The Elephant and The Lizard League spring up. Already the Mauler Twins, Titan and others are set up as total jobbers. A Justice League pastiche team is introduced, given two pages each, and then mercilessly killed- fans would be bugging the creative team for bios on these guys for AGES.

Cory Walker, the original artist, has a quirky style that fit fairly well- good costume design, and he draws Mark's parents pretty well- his mom in particular really pulls off that "attractive, but aged" thing, with a curvy figure, but a lot of wrinkles and some funny expressions. Walker does a few too many "Dots for eyes" looks, which is odd because sometimes the characters DO have regular eyes.

Walker soon proves incapable of handling a monthly grind, and is replaced as of Invincible #8 by Ryan Ottley, who starts out a bit Walker-ish, but very quickly molds it into his own style, and you can start to recognize him, though his style was more clumsy back in the day, with some goofy expressions here and there.

The Early Years provide some interesting things- Invincible & Atom Eve have a friendly partnership going, and of course EVERYONE started shipping them immediately. Mark's best friend William is a big part of the book- essentially appearing in almost all of the "Mark" scenes. Mark's girlfriend Amber pops up, and the fans turned on that character SO fast ("Die For Our Relationship" ain't just a thing for anime-watching nerdy girls, folks!).

Invincible, Trade 5: "I decided to build up Mark's Rogues Gallery!" (jobs out Magmaniac, Magnattack, Blastfurnace & Kursk in seconds). He has two foes in five trades that can't be one-punched.

And then there's Cecil and his five-page expository infodumps, explaining new status quos. Like, for no reason other than to make the world know everything that went down, the recording of the big fight is leaked. And he does this REPEATEDLY.

Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Riv1 on January 04, 2018, 06:13:42 AM
Nice synopsis.
I can remember picking up the first issue of this book, then a few after, and liking it.
Pretty sure i deployed and simply forgot to add it to my pull list, and never got back around to it. By the time i started hearing good things i just didnt want to make the effort to catch up.
Maybe now thats its wrapped up is a good time though.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: AP on January 04, 2018, 06:26:33 AM
So which one does he get not-raped in?
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Riv1 on January 04, 2018, 06:52:56 AM
So which one does he get not-raped in?
110 i believe.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 04, 2018, 07:03:24 AM
So which one does he get not-raped in?
That issue didn't make me cum. Not once.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Riv1 on January 04, 2018, 07:23:03 AM
So which one does he get not-raped in?
That issue didn't make me cum. Not once.
So multiple times then. Same.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Mightily Oats on January 04, 2018, 08:46:58 AM
Not even a little bit surprising that your lengthiest critique of the art revolved around how someone drew an attractive, middle aged woman
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 04, 2018, 10:47:17 AM
Not even a little bit surprising that your lengthiest critique of the art revolved around how someone drew an attractive, middle aged woman
Hey, I kept it down to one sentence, damn you!

Quote
So multiple times then. Same.
Got it in one.

I still find it funny they tried to write a serious, horrific rape scene by drawing Anissa RAPING HIM INTO A CRATER because of her super-strength.

Never mind that they totally just went "oh yeah, but don't blame her anymore- she's different now" right at the end, trying to absolve her through introspection that took place OFF-PANEL.

This becomes more of a recurring thing later on, as you can see Kirkman just drop shit he doesn't care about anymore.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Mightily Oats on January 04, 2018, 10:54:38 AM
Or writing himself into a corner and clumsily changing it
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: MTL76 on January 04, 2018, 10:58:07 AM
The way he dropped the rape storyline made me think he was uncomfortable with it, and just wanted it to go away.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Riv1 on January 04, 2018, 05:44:14 PM
The way he dropped the rape storyline made me think he was uncomfortable with it, and just wanted it to go away.
If only it were that easy for women who have been raped IRL.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 04, 2018, 10:11:16 PM
I also like how the most recent issues show Mark doing a complete 180 on Robot ruling the Earth and everyone just going along with it. And then Robot himself is like "no, I agree - it's better this way". Like, huh?

Never mind that Mark's solution is ALWAYS punching.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Riv1 on January 04, 2018, 11:06:52 PM
TBF, a lot of life's problems can be solved by punching those who need it.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 05, 2018, 06:55:47 AM
Really, the comic is just FULL of infodumps- Nolan explaining the "World Betterment Committee" to his young son. Nolan revealing the TRUTH behind the Viltrumites to Mark. Cecil explaining his purpose to Mark, and his guilt at the revelation that Nolan is evil. Cecil explaining that someone leaked Nolan & Mark's conversation to the public. Nolan explaining his personality to Mark on his new home planet. It's a testament to Ryan Ottley's skill that this remains interesting, as many issues devolve into talking heads, but rather than be Bendis-style (ie. xeroxing pages), the heads are always changing, making different expressions, reacting in unique ways... Ottley does the best with it.

You really see Ottley's talent in the early days with this. Several issues are JUST TALKING, and he keeps them interesting. Few artists are better with expressions. It helps that he's a bit cartoonish (especially with people sticking their lips out when emoting).

Mark going to his father's new planet and meeting the bug people, then THREE VILTRUMITES SHOWING UP, is one of those huge, game-changing moments that even felt big at the time. Mark, usually so powerful than Earth enemies are jokes, is EASILY defeated, and Omni-Man is crippled fighting them off. Naturally, InfoDump Exposition is the rule.

Rick Sheridan feels like he's missing for an eternity, even on a quick re-read. William brings it up repeatedly, but Mark is always too busy- then it's dealt with in one issue, and the villain goes unpunished. William actually starts getting worse and worse as a character- like his immaturity and annoying tendencies are ramped up- he used to just be the "Jughead" to Mark's "Archie", but lately he's just been a whiny pest. Mark's attempts at college... feel like they really went nowhere. I think Kirkman just got bored with the idea, or just wanted Mark to live away from his mom for a while, showing him "growing up". Because it seriously almost never appears, and then Mark finally just gives up on it.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 08, 2018, 05:39:03 AM


Some stuff goes off the rails in a hurry. I find it hilarious that Mark & Amber finally take their relationship to the next level, convess their love for each other... and then he has to bail repeatedly to save the universe, and she's heartbroken. Then after only a couple of trades, they break up having only had a few "moments". And then we only see her one more time. It's very odd.

It's VERY WEIRD reading the early Invincibles, because you see stuff like Amber, Debbie's drinking problem, Art the costume guy, William... and they all just disappear.

Allen the Alien surviving his beating and then immediately powering up past Viltrumite levels is a hilarious All-Pull. You can just feel Kirkman going "Ah shit, I made them too strong for any of the heroes to beat. Time to change it up!"

The art actually takes a bit of a dive in the late 40s & early 50s- I think Ottley is just overworked and the inkers are finding their way. And Oliver debuts as "Kid Omni-Man"... and immediately executes the Mauler Twins. Yes, these enemies of Mark since the early days, with their goofy "Who is the original?" concept, and endless schemes in the backgrounds, are ignominiously wiped out as if they never mattered. It's sad on one level, but on the other, they were never MAJOR characters, and not a threat to Mark unless there were dozens of them.

Oliver being potentially evil with his cavalier attitude towards killing, and his open disgust towards humanity, is very interesting. I can see why some people loved him, while others hated him. It really comes out of nowhere, though- he's an adolescent and suddenly he's got a bad attitude. And I forgot all about Debbie getting a new boyfriend, just when Nolan confesses to missing her. Speaking of stories that basically got solved without ever being explained...
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 11, 2018, 03:20:28 AM
Things get REALLY heated in the late-50s, as you see William & Amber go away for good (Amber has a strange one-off where she's punched by her suddenly-angry new boyfriend, then Mark threatens to murder him), and then Angstrom Levy returns for THE INVINCIBLE WAR- an odd one-off in issue #60 that involves sixteen Invincibles from alternate realities coming to Earth and wrecking house, thus "poisoning" the world against our hero. This is a BRUTAL issue, featuring the deaths of millions, dozens of Image heroes in an odd cross-over (Savage Dragon had shown up before, but YOUNGBLOOD? WITCHBLADE?), eight Invincibles dying (mostly off-screen, and to entire super-hero teams, though Pitt gouges the eyes out of one before falling to Earth), and the finale of both Darkwing (takes an Invincible into the Shadow World) and Rex Splode (a suicide attack).

And this IMMEDIATELY leads to Conquest- a short arc featuring the most powerful Viltrumite yet, who engages in some of the bloodiest fighting yet seen in the book, executing Atom Eve in a silly "stunt death" that's undone in the very next issue. To their credit, they do some "slow issues" after this 4-7 issue stretch of non-stop death and fighting. The Eve thing comes off as a pointless shock that ruins a lot of future drama as well- knowing that she can do this with her powers means that she's basically a walking "Dragon Ball"- anything can be undone if she's present. And yes, I still find it funny that Kirkman INSISTS he's never seen Dragon Ball.

The whole stretch from The Invincible War to The Viltrumite War is probably the high-water mark of the series in terms of writing, art quality and "wow, this is getting BIG". Unfortunately, it peaks so fast here that everything else gets left in its wake- who cares about "stuff on Earth" when you just FLY THROUGH A PLANET? Is any villain scary after Thragg shows that he's mightier than even Conquest was? This is the point where we also learn that Only Viltrumites Matter, as the "Earth Cast" basically disappears, and anyone not named "Allen the Alien" or "Robot" more or less stops mattering.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 21, 2018, 07:46:54 PM
It's weird- despite the Viltrumite War being the game-changer/biggest event for the series (EASILY its biggest story, actually, now that it's ending), this is also where a lot of my memories of the series kind of peter out. I remember a LOT of the early trades, right down to individual panels and bits of dialogue ("I think I'm finally getting my super-powers." "That's nice. Pass the potatoes, please."). But here? I remember that Thaedus dies, but I have no recollection of how it happened, or when. I remember some Viltrumites flying through Viltrum and destroying it, but not that Tech-Jacket and the Rangar were part of this fight. I barely remember Space Racer ever being a part of this series at all. I don't remember William being revealed as gay before Mark found out. I guess this is very, VERY close to when I began reading the series month-to-month instead of trade-by-trade. Because of that, I think a lot of things just didn't "stick" with me the way they would have otherwise. I think "Trade Waiting" is actually better for my reading comprehension :).

The Guarding the Globe books were a bit interesting- it's sort of like if The Avengers had a multinational cast, and were the worst super-heroes ever. Like... these guys TRY HARD, but holy crap- they can scarcely go on a single mission without the civilian body count resembling something out of a Dan Snyder movie. Every villain or disaster seems ready to kill THOUSANDS of people. Part of it's the lower Power Levels- Samson, Bulletproof and Brit just can't get it done physically, and Robot's genius seems stunted somehow. The TEAM picking up a body count is pretty bad, too, as so many of the goofily-named side-people drop like flies. But Best Tiger? Best Tiger makes the book.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Sick Nick on January 23, 2018, 10:47:36 AM
Siythe bought me the Invincible trade for my 30th birthday nearly 12 years ago (*sob*) and I absolutely loved it. Really funny book with art that was a million miles away from the Marvel house style but the Omniman twist blew me away. That must've been a real shock to readers at the time.

I lent the trade to my brother, who's jaded about anything the Big Two produce that isn't Bat-related, and he loved it as well.

I've never sat down and read the entire series in sequence but my library gets the odd trade here and there and it's always easy to catch up and what's going on. The title is amazingly consistent.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on January 31, 2018, 01:08:39 AM

GTG soon becomes Invincible Universe, which gives us a bit more focus on some of the characters (Kid Thor & Knockout, in particular, got NOTHING before this). We still never saw much of Pegasus, though. Watching the book dance around Kirkman's "Babies" from Invincible was funny, as Robot & Monster Girl kind of had to be glossed over, and Bulletproof goes from "major part of the book" to "just a background guy" because he's suddenly become the new Invincible and Kirkman is going to use him a lot more. Some of the backstory bits were pretty funny, like Kid Thor's Nordic relatives ("You're growing a beard, finally!" "Maybe next year it'll be pubes?"). Of course Best Tiger has an issue where he "kills" the rest of the team as a fake-out for a Mind Controller villain, then removes the villain's powers, because "Name not GOOD Tiger. BEST Tiger." They seriously go so over the top with this guy that he goes past "too silly" and becomes MORE AWESOME again. King Lizard is the villain of the last pair of issues, which is amusing. And in true Invincible villain fashion, he gets multiple issues of build-up, but his threat is neutralized almost instantly. His bomb-themed deathtrap was fairly solid, though, and contains real drama, as this IS the kind of series that would have the heroes screw up and kill millions.

Sadly, IU is cancelled after its twelfth issue (about a two-year run)- they simply announce that "there is some stuff being shaken up in the original title" that necessitates a break for Invincible Universe "for the time being", but of course it never returns. And in a move that pissed off this book's fans (and, well, anyone who bought issues hoping this book would "matter"), they were simply used as disposable nobodies for Robot's takeover of Earth- a handful of characters DIED, and the rest merely jobbed out in seconds and then NEVER DO ANYTHING AGAIN. You like Pegasus, Best Tiger, Brit or Le Bruiser? TOUGH TOENAILS, you'll never see them do anything again! And you like Kid Thor & Knockout? LOLZ.

Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 03, 2018, 03:49:08 AM

The Post-Viltrumite War issues are a bit interesting- certain things are glossed over (William is revealed to be gay, but never matters to the book again), everyone kind of tries to settle into a "new normal", and various character bits pop up. Nolan & Debbie are back together for good. Oliver grows totally dissociated from humanity. The Viltrumites decide to hide out on Earth, renewing their empire by making babies with Earthlings for a few generations- the threat of them living on Earth is not lost on Mark. Mark decides to become much more pragmatic and thus begins to ally with Cecil again, and then suddenly steps back and chooses a really dramatic way to "make things better". And Allen, new leader of The Coalition of Planets, enacts a possibly-genocidal plan to wipe out the Viltrumites once and for all.

I'll say this- for all the tension that was lost during the Viltrumite War's finale (because it was the peak of drama for the series), they managed to ramp it back up with interpersonal conflict- Allen is put in a difficult position, as Earth could die because of what he's about to do. It's in the greater interest of the universe, however. Mark & Nolan are horrified by his actions and fight back, but then THRAGG shows back up again, taking the "do it and I'll kill you" approach, before speaking to Allen's sense of duty and pragmatism (ie. now the Viltrumites KNOW about this threat, and are ready to fight back at a moment's notice- Allen cannot allow this, while Thragg cannot fight back without causing the extinction of his people. They are thus in detente, and a truce must be signed.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 06, 2018, 03:34:57 AM
The finale of the Viltrumite War leads to Mark getting hit with the new "Scourge Virus", and being de-powered for a while, which gets Bulletproof to become the "new" Invincible for the time being. He even appears in Invincible Universe this way. This necessitates Kirkman giving Zandale a lot more characterization, which includes his weirdly-hideous, bitchy parents, who verbally abuse him until his girlfriend freaking KILLS HIS MOM by accidentally caving in her skull with a frying pan. His horrified father then beats on a shocked Carla, and Zandale accidentally snaps his neck in return. He then tosses his parents' car off a cliff to make it look like an accident, and he & his girl are left staring at each other in horror. This is HILARIOUS, especially since Kirkman immediately jumps to his "Writer Stand-In" going on about throwing out shocking events to hold the fans' interest before Issue 100 can come out, even if it's over-the-top, excessively violent and all about the shock value.

I have to say, Ottley's art looks BETTER THAN EVER, here. You can tell at times the deadlines are wearing on him, because he'll half-ass a few issues so badly it doesn't even look like his stuff, but around this time, his art is phenomenal. I thought he was adding some more shading lines to the figures and "beefing" everyone up, but it turns out a huge chunk of this was the COLORIST, who had recently taken over coloring duties and knocked it out of the park, adding such distinctive shadows that everyone had volume and solidity that was not there before.

Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 06, 2018, 03:35:50 AM
Siythe bought me the Invincible trade for my 30th birthday nearly 12 years ago (*sob*) and I absolutely loved it. Really funny book with art that was a million miles away from the Marvel house style but the Omniman twist blew me away. That must've been a real shock to readers at the time.

I lent the trade to my brother, who's jaded about anything the Big Two produce that isn't Bat-related, and he loved it as well.

I've never sat down and read the entire series in sequence but my library gets the odd trade here and there and it's always easy to catch up and what's going on. The title is amazingly consistent.
Generally speaking, even when Invincible is meandering, it's at least something NEW- Kirkman never really gets lazy with it, or rests on its laurels.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 09, 2018, 07:02:48 AM
Around their one-hundredth issue, there's more shake-ups. Mark's deciding to SPRING DINOSAURUS and let him do environmental stuff, thus making Mark a fugitive, and an accessory to whatever Dinosaurus does, is very odd. It makes Mark look impulsive and REALLY naiive, while at the same time kind of undercutting his whole "do more than just punching things" mentality, because it's pretty clear that he's too stupid to do anything but punching. And of course when he's injured, Dinosaurus goes and commits to a devastating plan that kills around a million people. Dinosaurus is all "let me convince you I'm right", but Invincible points out that all Dinosaurus did was temporarily stall humanity's progress, and that this could all be a waste. Dinosaurus IMMEDIATELY realizes the flaws in his plans, and demands that Mark kill him before he justifies some OTHER evil action. The dialogue here was pretty weak and half-assed, and I didn't really buy Mark's whole method of convincing the baddie of his error. Invincible suggests he go to jail, but Cecil just goes "I've worked with villains before" and they're back to their OLD status quo, with Cecil giving Mark orders. This arc is REALLY WEIRD, seemingly creating an all-new status quo and making Mark the indirect killer of millions, but they gloss it over so quickly in the story that it barely matters after more than five issues. I still can't believe we were supposed to take a guy named DINOSAURUS seriously.

Meanwhile, the Viltrumites engage in rapid-fire characterization, as being on Earth for MONTHS has led to a change that took Nolan YEARS to achieve, because hey, Kirkman's on a timeline, yo. Then it turns out that Thragg was hiding Nolan's existence as the heir to the throne secret, and he's IMMEDIATELY assaulted and turned on by his most elite agents- Anissa, Lucan, Kregg & Thula nearly kill him, but Nolan both spares his foe, then chooses EXILE as his punishment. This idiotic, naiive move is supposed to show the Viltrumites a better way, but not only do none of them talk about what Nolan's done, Nolan has basically doomed everyone who dies near The End of Everything, forty issues later. So GOOD JOB, IDIOT.

Heh- Mark cracks a joke about the superhero life, chuckling about getting tossed into the future, "and missing my kid's childhood." Eesh.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 13, 2018, 03:10:56 AM
ANGSTROM LEVY finally reappears, threatening to doom Mark & Eve all over again, suggesting that Eve is usually the thing that sends Mark over the edge and turns him evil in most realities. However, Eve simply talks him down, pointing out the reality of the accident that turned Levy evil, and points out how stupid and wasteful it is to spend your whole life searching for revenge- even commenting on what if he'd spent all that time doing what he PLANNED on doing when he was starting his mission? This actually WORKS, and Levy does the old "Immediate Turn", but he's dragged into a portal by the sole surviving "Evil Invincible" from "The Invincible War", and he never matters to the series again.

Mark obsesses over Angstrom a bit, disbelieving the idea that he's reformed, and finally gets Robot to lead him to the Evil Invincible's parallel Earth, where he rules the Viltrumite Empire on Earth. Horrified by the power Mark exhibits there, Robot enacts something he'd been thinking about- saying that they COULD have been allies, but not after seeing how dominant Mark could be. He murders the Evil Invincible, executes the comatose body of Levy, then traps Mark on that world- believing he doesn't deserve murder, but that he can't stay in the way of Robot's plans. Mark's only response at the end is the first and only time you'll see it in the book: "Holy FUCK."

A curious thing: Mark seems REALLY hostile to Eve's demands that he drop the whole "Hunting Levy" thing, fearing his disappearance once more. She argues with him, and he goes all "Are you HORMONAL or something?", derides her position, and gets super-crabby until an equally-angry Eve just slaps him and storms off. Given that she's RIGHT, and he DOES get trapped in this world, he comes off like a real ass here.

Mark shows a curious amount of planning and capability in this parallel Earth, quickly getting the Viltrumites there to believe he's the Evil Mark, finds Robot to build him a new portal, AND manages to come up with the plan that gets Robot to go along with things- getting a Mauler Twin to create a cloned body of Mark for Robot to inhabit. Mark returns six months after he left, Eve immediately dumps him for abandoning her last time, and then he's immediately hauled down, beaten up and RAPED by Anissa, who desires to breed with a stronger breed of Earth man, which is a huge leap towards shock & awe in the series, and absolutely not my fetish. And then of course he has to deal with friggin' Robot's revolution.

Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Rufio on February 13, 2018, 08:33:23 AM
Apologies if this is too far off topic, but one thing no one's mentioned:

Although the storyline was crap, Kirkman did have Mark confirm that he held back against Anissa because he was physically turned on by her. This does not diminish the fact that the scene was a rape, but it is notable for battle purposes.

I thought it was obvious from the original scene that he began holding back once Anissa's "battle tactics" shifted to hair-pulling and the like. She more or less said her strategy was to reduce his will to fight back. But when it came out, almost half of the posters were suggesting that Mark was fighting as hard as he could the entire scene. I even remember one board where someone weirdly suggested that Anissa is stronger than Conquest because of that scene. That's obviously false.

Anissa was a standard Viltrumite on the level of Omni Man and plainly below Conquest. If Mark had fought Anissa at that stage of his career and there was no sexual element, he likely would've won IMO.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: MTL76 on February 13, 2018, 01:09:15 PM
Although the storyline was crap, Kirkman did have Mark confirm that he held back against Anissa because he was physically turned on by her. This does not diminish the fact that the scene was a rape, but it is notable for battle purposes.

This made me chuckle. On Herochat, we don't really care about the morality of rape and whether there were elements of consent... We care about how this affects battle board standings.

AND I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: INDRA THUNDERER on February 13, 2018, 02:08:43 PM
Although the storyline was crap, Kirkman did have Mark confirm that he held back against Anissa because he was physically turned on by her. This does not diminish the fact that the scene was a rape, but it is notable for battle purposes.

This made me chuckle. On Herochat, we don't really care about the morality of rape and whether there were elements of consent... We care about how this affects battle board standings.

AND I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.
(https://img-16.ccm2.net/4Nfx9l3g1n47peiNolIfyUdDrcE=/adc68aee31f846dbb8d5461e055e6719/ccm-faq/G1wMtmWKQ94r7Doi6fybXXnACJoLFtKR-lol.png)
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 13, 2018, 03:39:50 PM
LOL- I actually am statting up Invincible characters for an RPG, and am legitimately using Anissa's rape of Mark for the purposes of Power Level settings and "Good Showings" :).

In a sense, it shows how different murderous fights are from what's going on here- Mark isn't "killing mad", and so holds back a bit. Though it's clear that Anissa is much stronger than he is (he hadn't hit the "Peak Viltrumite" power levels yet- she easily just stops his punches), and she technically DOES do better than Conquest, who dies fighting Mark TWICE.

However, Anissa is mostly just holding Mark down and tearing his clothes off- much different from the grittier business of punching holes through people. Since she's stronger, she wins the grapple- that's about it. And Conquest, as Omni-Man points out, "acts like a spectator in his own fights", making things take too long. I would imagine that (and I apologize for this image ahead of time) if Conquest had held down Mark and forcibly raped him, he would have succeeded just as easily, just by virtue of his strength. And as Ares pointed out to me, Mark had JUST been dumped by Eve (you can be forgiven for forgetting that, as Kirkman just dropped that story within three issues), so probably wasn't mentally "there" for the fight, either.

Mark doesn't really say that he was turned on- he was merely rationalizing things to Eve, doing "self-blame" like a lot of rape victims do. He was like "I don't get why I didn't fight harder! Did I secretly WANT it?", though Kirkman doesn't really elaborate, probably because he got distracted by a dog with a fluffy tail or something.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Rufio on February 13, 2018, 03:47:59 PM
LOL- I actually am statting up Invincible characters for an RPG, and am legitimately using Anissa's rape of Mark for the purposes of Power Level settings and "Good Showings" :).

In a sense, it shows how different murderous fights are from what's going on here- Mark isn't "killing mad", and so holds back a bit. Though it's clear that Anissa is much stronger than he is (he hadn't hit the "Peak Viltrumite" power levels yet- she easily just stops his punches), and she technically DOES do better than Conquest, who dies fighting Mark TWICE.

However, Anissa is mostly just holding Mark down and tearing his clothes off- much different from the grittier business of punching holes through people. Since she's stronger, she wins the grapple- that's about it. And Conquest, as Omni-Man points out, "acts like a spectator in his own fights", making things take too long. I would imagine that (and I apologize for this image ahead of time) if Conquest had held down Mark and forcibly raped him, he would have succeeded just as easily, just by virtue of his strength. And as Ares pointed out to me, Mark had JUST been dumped by Eve (you can be forgiven for forgetting that, as Kirkman just dropped that story within three issues), so probably wasn't mentally "there" for the fight, either.

Mark doesn't really say that he was turned on- he was merely rationalizing things to Eve, doing "self-blame" like a lot of rape victims do. He was like "I don't get why I didn't fight harder! Did I secretly WANT it?", though Kirkman doesn't really elaborate, probably because he got distracted by a dog with a fluffy tail or something.

I disagree. Mark's first few hits hurt Anissa just as much as her attacks hurt him. This is quite unlike Mark vs Conquest, where he looks less powerful at the beginning, just from a comparison of attack damage.

Anissa's supposed "strength advantage" only emerges after she grabs Mark's hair and grinds her crotch on his. While he pushed back to a degree after that, he was holding back his strength, as he stated later. And then he stopped resisting entirely, just as Anissa confirmed that he was physically aroused.

To add to that, Anissa has scrapped with Omni Man and didn't look stronger. And she looked shocked when Mark said he was able to kill Conquest.

I think Mark was a bit stronger than Anissa, just as he was slightly stronger than Omni Man. After his initial attacks, he just held back most of his strength because a part of him (the physical part) "wanted" it. I don't believe his comment can be written off as a post hoc rationalization because it was obvious in the original scene, both from Anissa's own dialogue and the fact that Mark stopped fighting.

We can discuss in a different thread if need be.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Rufio on February 13, 2018, 03:51:06 PM
Although the storyline was crap, Kirkman did have Mark confirm that he held back against Anissa because he was physically turned on by her. This does not diminish the fact that the scene was a rape, but it is notable for battle purposes.

This made me chuckle. On Herochat, we don't really care about the morality of rape and whether there were elements of consent... We care about how this affects battle board standings.

AND I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.

Ha. To be honest, it wasn't written in a thoughtful enough manner to make me interested. Kirkman seemed to add that scene for shock value, not to say anything meaningful or unique. That was around when I stopped reading it.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 14, 2018, 12:44:10 AM
Quote
We can discuss in a different thread if need be.
Meh- I'd rather discuss it here- I avoid ICT like the plague, and if it goes there, I'd likely forget about it. This topic has mostly just been me rambling to myself, so I invite some scholarly debate about how the not-at-all-sexy rape scene fits into BattleBoard debates.

And just to be clear, I have no emotional stake in this fight. I'm more interested in the actual statistics as shown, because I myself was confused as to how Anissa compares. From the dialogue in the series, it's pretty clear that Conquest is king of the mountain next to Thragg, and that everyone fears and respects him. Anissa is almost never given any kind of credit- if not for the rape, I'd assume she's at the level of Kregg, Lucan (black Nappa) & Thula (knife-hair). Her biggest "feat" other than raping Mark was tanking a shot from Allen (who is definitely stronger than Omni-Man, and can one-punch lesser Viltrumites).

I disagree. Mark's first few hits hurt Anissa just as much as her attacks hurt him. This is quite unlike Mark vs Conquest, where he looks less powerful at the beginning, just from a comparison of attack damage.
Oh yeah, they seem pretty evenly matched at first, whereas Conquest tanked Mark's stuff. Though this is something like 30 issues later, and Viltrumites get stronger as they get older, there's little indication that this Mark is superior to the one that killed Conquest.

Mark's rationalization is called "bullshit" by Eve. He's all "I can't help but feeling should have fought back harder" out of guilt- I don't think it was because he wanted it. He even says "I can't stop thinking... did I hold back on purpose?"

Comparing the two fight scenes, Mark was "killing mad" against Conquest, and only "Hey, get off me!" with Anissa. While it seems clear to me she's stronger in this scene (she's literally holding him down while he struggles), it's probably not by a huge amount, and like I said, breaking a grapple isn't exactly the same as "punching someone to death". If he'd fought as dirty as he did with Conquest, he'd probably have done better, but since it wasn't life or death (and his head wasn't in the game), he didn't. But she wasn't fighting to kill, either- just to hold him down. Which is much easier than strangling or punching holes through somebody.

So... I think it's fair to say he wasn't trying his ABSOLUTE hardest (hee), in that his life wasn't on the line, and he didn't just see Eve impaled in front of him. But he did put up a pretty good fight.

Quote
I think Mark was a bit stronger than Anissa, just as he was slightly stronger than Omni Man. After his initial attacks, he just held back most of his strength because a part of him (the physical part) "wanted" it. I don't believe his comment can be written off as a post hoc rationalization because it was obvious in the original scene, both from Anissa's own dialogue and the fact that Mark stopped fighting.
When was Mark stronger than Omni-Man? Omni-Man won their arm-wrestling contest, which took place after this, and that's the only time I remember them REALLY testing their strength.

Speaking from a perspective of statting up the characters, I have them like this:
* Conquest, Omni-Man and Anissa are at the same "Power Level" (I put them at PL 14 in Mutants & Masterminds, about akin to Superman & Captain Marvel-type guys. My Thor build is PL 14 as well), though their strengths don't line up- Conquest is strongest, followed by Omni-Man, then Anissa. The other two bridge the gap by their skill, so they "equal out" (in M&M, your combat PL is designated by your strength and accuracy combined). Anissa, however, seems quite a bit less durable than Conquest especially, and Omni-Man likely isn't as tough either (he's one-punched by Thragg). She is choked out by Omni-Man that one time (though the fight doesn't go any further than that), but both are slain by the Ragnar.
* Mark, around his fight with Conquest, is probably PL 12- making him very strong; stronger than most Earth heroes definitely, as the "Alternavincibles" at the same level are killable, but take entire super-teams (of lower-level guys) to bring down, or powerhouses like Pitt. PL 12 vs PL 14 is a HELL of an uphill battle, which is shown by Mark's being mashed to shit and only winning (both times) through some limit-breaks and assistance- stuff like that.
* Mark, by the time he fights Anissa, is probably either PL 12 or PL 13- still below her. She's probably a bit stronger (or around the same strength level- if they're even, the fight still makes sense), but likely has more skill. Though Viltrumites are pretty clumsy fighters (very direct and "put fist through other guy" types), she has thousands of years of experience.
* Mark "upgrades" to his final level when Eve resurrects the pair, where it's pointed out that Mark is now tougher. At that point, he's probably as strong as any Viltrumite other than Thragg, whom he beats through limit-breaking, smart tactics, and more.
* Viltrumites as a whole are much less durable than they are strong, as they take a TON of gory damage from hits, even from beings "below" them.

Honestly, if not for the rape, Anissa would have ended up at PL 12 or 13, too. I could still probably rationalize her at PL 13, but it's hard to tell- her "showings" aren't nearly as elaborate as those of Mark, Conquest, Nolan or Thragg, who fight A LOT of varied opponents.

The most ANNOYING thing, Power Level-wise, is the whole "Ragnar" situation. Omni-Man acts like they're the be-all, end-all of the universe and nearly unkillable, and they EASILY tear through Viltrumites as powerful as Thragg (who is disemboweled), but they're just as easily one-shotted by Battle Beast, and even fucking Thraxan soldiers blow them apart with single shots from their Flying Skimmer thingies. Like... how tough ARE they? High-damage, low-durability seems to be the name of the game with them.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: NeoGreenLantern on February 14, 2018, 05:29:41 PM
FYI the final issue is out today.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 15, 2018, 02:57:16 AM
FYI the final issue is out today.
Yup- I dig it. Very "Kirkman-ish" (ie. it feels like you're reading 1/4 of a great comic book story, but seeing only the highlights). Appropriate ending.


More Stuff:

Robot starts off by slaughtering Cecil (who never really had a chance to get into the old routine with Mark anyways), pointing out coldly that he REGRETS this, and that he'd considered Cecil a friend. He just wouldn't have understood, however. Then Eve gets her goddamn LEG torn off (a new status quo for her), and Robot starts attacking the Guardians of the Globe, slaughtering former important characters Black Samson, Shapesmith, Kid Thor & Knockout! Even THE ELEPHANT gets it! It's very bizarre to read about, as many of these guys were once given major focus, or at least significant chunks of the story- Black Samson was all over the early parts of the book, and Shapesmith was featured in an arc of his own. Sure, both guys felt more like "A major character in a book other than this one", but it's weird to see them wiped out with barely a word. Kid Thor & Knockout only had characterization in the GTG books, but seeing their whole story end that quickly is crazy.

The massive onslaught of Robot's takeover gets very strange, very quickly, as the tension is deflated like a balloon almost as soon as it starts- the remaining heroes are largely captured by Robot once ZandaleInvincible turns them all in. The Viltrumites could attack... but Robot merely convinces them to fall back into the old "we'd both lose too much" detente that they were in with Allen! Mark, despite his girlfriend having her goddamn LEG RIPPED OFF by a Robot Drone, basically has to capitulate to all of this, and just leaves Earth. Watching him sit down and have conversations with the guy who maimed Eve (while saying "Shut up" no less) is extremely bizarre, as is Robot's odd switch between "cruelly taunting his former friends" and "mournfully suggesting everyone calm down". He comes off as very bipolar, though at least characters SAY he's gone nuts.

Robot ends up fixing the world, however- crime appears down, people are safer, college is mysteriously free for everyone, and health care is universal. The Immortal of all people is a voice of reason (his point is basically that society itself is disorderly and chaotic, and needs to stay that way; one leader's control will always break eventually), but Mark is unwilling to risk everyone. There's some interesting stuff where Immortal springs the other heroes, along with D.A. SINCLAIR seeing the light and helping out, but many of the Guardians ultimately realize that Robot has created a more ideal world. Brit, Pegasus, Kaboomerang and Yeti stand with Robot, leaving their former teammates (who are allowed to go free by Robot) disgusted.

Another bizarre bit: Eve dumps Mark, gets maimed, has her & Mark's baby... then they're pretty much back together as a couple without a word. Like, Kirkman just skipped EVERYTHING about that, as if he didn't feel like dealing with it.

The new "Status Quo" for the series? Mark & Eve on Talescria, living in exile from Earth. We see Eve struggle with the insane alien world, Oliver and his new bug-wife (who is kind of bitchy, in a humorous bit), Mark confessing that Anissa raped him (he's guilt-ridden because he feels like he should have fought a little harder), and more... as Battle Beast finally dies after a multi-issue battle with Thragg, ruining Allen's plans. And then, when we're just getting settled into this new world... Mark gets thrown into the past for three issues, then returns with YEARS having passed! Yup- a TIME SKIP!!!
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 16, 2018, 02:41:14 AM
Ultimately, we really get into the "Endgame" of the series, as Cory Walker takes over on art for six issues to give Ryan Ottley a break. In the huge time-jump: Eve dated and dumped the brother of Allen's bitchy girlfriend (they loved each other, apparently, but "our people have no patience for children", and he made Eve choose. When he lectures about this later, she slugs him. Allen failed to halt Thragg's expansion, and his Half-Viltrumites have been taking over former Viltrumite-controlled worlds. Allen is nearly killed by a suicide bomb set by a political rival who wanted a NON-weakling to take command of the Coalition. Oliver & Haluma the Lobster-Lady have had two tiny purple children, but he's now acting as a double-agent for Thragg, having "seen the light" (it turns out immediately that he's a mole sent by Allen). Robot has consolidated power over the Earth and made things great- he and Nolan are now good friends, and most of the heroes now see eye-to-eye with him, especially after the people Angstrom Levy worked for invade Earth, setting things back by years. And the Viltrumites are happy with their human others... and even ANISSA has found love. And a stepfather to her son... MARKY. Mark is basically forced to deal with all of this, and is particularly annoyed at Nolan & Robot's friendship (he doesn't know about Marky).

The prelude to "The End of All Things" sees Thragg send his two most elite agents, a pair of twins, against Mark & Eve. Oliver immediately betrays Thragg and attacks (failing the test of loyalty), and gets his innards punched out, dropping one of the bigger cast members that never really hit a full potential. Thragg slaughters both Mark and Eve, and is all "HAW HAW, I'LL LET THEM DIE SLOWLY", not realizing that Eve has a Last-Second Ass-Pull Power that instantly heals both her and Mark. Well, at least they used it again. In a hilariously-DBZ move, Mark was resurrected with MORE STRENGTH (and can somehow feel the difference just by flexing), thus making him more Thragg's equal (he was torn in half pretty easily).

Mark gets all aggressive with Allen for putting Oliver in that situation to begin with, which finally causes a HUGE freak-out from Eve, who basically goes into what me, as a reader, had been feeling for years- that Mark was reckless, stupid, and prone to just flying off and doing whatever he felt like on impulse, which caused all of the gaps where he was separated from Eve. Very cathartic to me. EVE later does more or less the same thing when Allen reveals more of the story (he'd essentially gotten Oliver involved just to make sure Mark joined the fight, which would lead the Viltrumites into it), but it's more understandable- Mark even confesses that Allen's selflessness in getting a friend killed is something a leader SHOULD do. Allen then reveals to his girlfriend the FULL story- he'd deliberately set up Oliver to be in harm's way, because he felt he HAD to get Mark's help. He didn't know Oliver would be killed, but he is still totally responsible.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 17, 2018, 07:01:17 AM
And yes, as expected, Mark gets his father involved (they both know that Thragg is coming for them anyways), and there's an all-out assault. Ursaal, Thragg's most-elite fighter, realizes that Thragg is pretty rotten after he barely acknowledges the death of her brother, nor the losses of his other children in the fight. Mark & Nolan thus deliberately lead Thragg to Earth, where they know the other Viltrumites might help- it's an all-out assault, leading to... well, some rapid-fire deaths. As a fan later writes in, this rapidity actually diminishes the deaths as they happen, as you can barely FEEL any of them before the next one happens. Especially since the series is running down, and you know we'll not be seeing the long-term affects of these deaths. Never mind that they basically just gloss over Anissa raping Mark with "Hey, she's had Character Development that we never bothered to write, okay? Just let it go." In the end, Thragg throws out the Arbitrarily-Powererful Ragnars into the battle, which ends up killing both Anissa AND Omni-Man in succession. Omni-Man gets some pretty forgettable final words in the hospital, as Arbitary Viltrumite Durability fails him (even those his species frequently get spines ripped out), leaving Mark as the heir to the Viltrumite throne.

Mark engages in a final throw-down with Thragg over Earth's Sun, finally ripping his throat out and sending him into the star to burn. There's a nice bit as he's bought some time by a Robot Drone acting as armor, protecting him just a little bit, so that he can survive- Robot's either recalling their old friendship, or knows that Thragg is going to just massacre everyone.

Mark's first act? Fly down to Earth and fight Robot. And they gloss over the "punching Robot Drones causes Viltrumites pain" thing (Mark warns them, but they just start shellacking Drones anyways), Monster Girl points out the REAL Rex, and then Mark just punches his heart out. Hilariously, a letter column from early 2017 derides "Comics Conventions" by going all "In a REGULAR comic, Mark would go down and fight Robot and win. But NOT US- in Invincible, the bad guy won, and Mark feels Earth." Nice smug additude there, ya doofuses. Never mind your all "Being a hero is bullshit" and "punching people doesn't help" when all Mark DOES is punch people to death to save the day.

Mark's final solution to everything is weird, even by his standards. He's decided (and remember, he's Emperor of the VILTRUMITES, not of Earth) that The Immortal is the best man to rule the world (!??!!?!?), but points out the logic of Robot's words- that he HAS turned the planet into a near-Utopia. So he leaves Robot's brain alive, and has him give Immortal advice. And Robot helpfully declares that "truth be told, it's BETTER this way" because now he can't actually act. And then Mark decides that he and his people must leave Earth forever, because the growing powers of the Viltrumite/Human offspring will destabilize the world. So... yay?
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: altoon on February 18, 2018, 02:29:00 AM
Overall liked the final issue . Could have been longer would have liked to see more of some of the events of the next 500 years.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 18, 2018, 03:23:21 AM
Overall liked the final issue . Could have been longer would have liked to see more of some of the events of the next 500 years.
Yeah, I would've liked to have seen what became of Immortal & Robot, given what we saw of Immortal in the "future timeline". We skipped out on a lot of important deaths.

Also, I hope everyone who read Guarding the Globe enjoyed having all of those characters either killed or ignored forever after a point. The poor creative team! Basically had their book AND characters taken away, then mostly killed! What's funny is the final issue of Invincible Universe suggested they are stopping the book "for the time being". I wonder what the sales were like?
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: altoon on February 18, 2018, 08:10:39 AM
Well it's invincible's book so your weren't gonna see a lot of side characters not connected to him get much if any screen time. 
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: MTL76 on February 18, 2018, 10:54:50 AM
This will sound corny but reading the final issue felt like the end of an era, and I’m not even an enormous Invincible fan. It left me wanting more which is a good goal for any final issue.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 19, 2018, 08:23:20 AM
The final issue is a doozy- a huge double-issue, with Ottley on art for the first half (all charater dialogue) and Cory Walker returning for the second half with his big lumpy guys (and all the fights). We see what goes on in the future- Eve is as ageless as the Viltrumites, characters age and die off-screen (I guess it would've been too sad to see Debbie's funeral- her send-off is to get Marky his first costume), Allen and Mark are rivals, then allies once more, and Terra & Marky grow into their roles. Marky becomes a superhero, but resents his absentee father; while Terra goes her own way, acting as an agent of conservation and peace. Apparently no character has any more children that we can see.

The letters provide some fun stuff. A few fans bitch about the speed with which things have wrapped up (a common trend in the series). More than one person brings up the "Immortal's in charge" thing and how it compares to issue #54, where Mark had to kill an insane Immortal. Countless characters don't have their histories explained, because it's not really that kind of book. But it's established that Mark turns the Viltrumites into agents of peace throughout the galaxy, and becomes the hero he was always meant to be. Very nice. All in all, I felt it to be an appropriate ending, with the usual things that annoy me about reading Invincible (it always feels like there's a whole universe out there we're just not seeing).

Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: altoon on February 19, 2018, 09:31:00 AM
(it always feels like there's a whole universe out there we're just not seeing).

Sign of good world building.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: NeoGreenLantern on February 19, 2018, 03:26:47 PM
The final issue is a doozy- a huge double-issue, with Ottley on art for the first half (all charater dialogue) and Cory Walker returning for the second half with his big lumpy guys (and all the fights). We see what goes on in the future- Eve is as ageless as the Viltrumites, characters age and die off-screen (I guess it would've been too sad to see Debbie's funeral- her send-off is to get Marky his first costume), Allen and Mark are rivals, then allies once more, and Terra & Marky grow into their roles. Marky becomes a superhero, but resents his absentee father; while Terra goes her own way, acting as an agent of conservation and peace. Apparently no character has any more children that we can see.

The letters provide some fun stuff. A few fans bitch about the speed with which things have wrapped up (a common trend in the series). More than one person brings up the "Immortal's in charge" thing and how it compares to issue #54, where Mark had to kill an insane Immortal. Countless characters don't have their histories explained, because it's not really that kind of book. But it's established that Mark turns the Viltrumites into agents of peace throughout the galaxy, and becomes the hero he was always meant to be. Very nice. All in all, I felt it to be an appropriate ending, with the usual things that annoy me about reading Invincible (it always feels like there's a whole universe out there we're just not seeing).

I loved we got a happy ending.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 19, 2018, 03:50:11 PM
(it always feels like there's a whole universe out there we're just not seeing).

Sign of good world building.
Yup- doing some RPG builds of the characters, I noted that Black Samson feels like the main character of a book we're not getting- all this stuff about his backstory, how he lost his powers and tried to build a suit, saw his butler go crazy, then finally regain his powers... he felt REAL. Like an actual comic book character whose book we just didn't get.

Then of course Kirkman had him slaughtered in one panel by a casual blast from a Robot drone :).
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: MTL76 on February 19, 2018, 04:28:17 PM
^^^ If Kirkman has the desire and ambition, he could have started his own Invincible Universe imprint, and licensed these characters out to other people. Not just in the scattered way he sort of did it, but for real.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 19, 2018, 10:48:31 PM
^^^ If Kirkman has the desire and ambition, he could have started his own Invincible Universe imprint, and licensed these characters out to other people. Not just in the scattered way he sort of did it, but for real.
I kind of wonder why it didn't go that way- Guarding the Globe and it's spin-off lasted for eighteen issues combined, which wasn't an awful run, but they killed it as soon as the Robot Revolution happened. I would imagine that his Walking Dead mega-franchise ate up more and more of his time, to the point where he was unwilling to devote himself to ANOTHER franchise. And really, the way the book worked around Issues #115-130 or whatever REALLY indicate "ah fuck, I don't really know... let's just do random shit". The three-issue "Non-Reboot" that never actually matters (aside from giving us a Timeskip that's important to the plot), Mark flying around Talescria, etc... it all kind of shows a writer who's kind of distracted.

It's part of what makes the final "push" so odd, in that the last twelve issues suddenly revs up a "sleeping" plot (until then, the Viltrumites had been living peacefully on Earth, and Nolan and Robot were FRIENDS), wiping out a half-dozen major characters one after another (making individual deaths mean less than friggin' REX SPLODE'S did!), so everything felt more rushed.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: MTL76 on February 19, 2018, 11:10:04 PM
Right. He could have contracted half a dozen titles out to creative teams - Allen the Alien, some of the more popular Earth heroes, Mark’s daughter - split the profits with them, given a bit of overall guidance, and there’s your universe. But yeah, TWD is his money maker so he’s focusing on that.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 19, 2018, 11:43:12 PM
Funny thing is, Kirkman repeatedly said in the letters column that his dream was for Invincible to live on with other creative teams, so that he'd be some grumpy old man complaining about how his characters are being written now. Then he suddenly reversed course and said "that would go against everything the comic stood for!" and ended it.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on February 22, 2018, 03:25:50 PM
Here's a lengthy review thing I did of the series, upon its completion:

-By far the most memorable aspect of Invincible to casual readers is the violence and gore- Writer Robert Kirkman and artist Ryan Ottley REALLY REALLY love blood, gore, brain-splattering and violence, and it shows.
. There is TONS of it. While it was initially shocking to see so much blood in a colorful superhero book, pretty soon we'd see fists flying through heads on a casual basis, brilliantly-drawn spirals of blood fluming out of impaled torsos, crushed brains, torn-off jaws, severed limbs, ripped-out intestines, smashed-in faces and people reduced to floating piles of organs. Ryan Ottley does EXQUISITELY detailed gore, but this eventually gets so common that it overwhelms the series. The creators insist at various points that "we don't want this to become a GORE book!" but... it's a Gore Book. No two ways around it. It's an orgiastic celebration of disgusting, organ-pulping violence. Now, I'm pretty far outside the Mortal Kombat era of my childhood, so I don't get my rocks off on that anymore, but they certainly are fans of showing just how messy comic books fights could be without "No-Kill Physics" place.

The comic was one of the most addictive things I've ever read back in the day, and really each issue was a "must-read right away" book until the very end. The best compliment I can give it is that it's never PREDICTABLE- the comic has a tendency to go off on rails every now and then, and it always keeps you guessing. I mean, at one point, Mark gets stuck in an alternate reality where he gets the chance to fix everything, then things go through a time-skip. He spends a HUGE chunk of the series living on an alien world after abandoning Earth to his old ally Robot, who's now taken it over. There is a TON of Character Development (especially between Robot & Monster Girl), and a lot of changeover in the cast, as the body count gets tremendously high. Hell, they even geared up towards the finale by annihilating even the GOOD characters- beloved people like Oliver, Battle Beast and more go the way of the dodo.

Ottley is AMAZING on art, too. Several issues are JUST TALKING, and he keeps them interesting. Few artists are better with expressions. It helps that he's a bit cartoonish (especially with people sticking their lips out when emoting). Ottley's style is very, very cartoonish- characters stick their lower jaws out when speaking, everyone has peglike teeth that lean inwards, and the hands have big and meaty sausage-fingers. But it's expressive, dynamic, well-posed, and brilliantly-characterful. Very, very few artists get "expression" like Ottley. His art comes and goes in quality depending on who's working with him- Cliff Rathburn on inks makes his stuff look way better than Ottley himself can (his own inking is rather sketchy). A John Rauch on colors actually adds shadow and "weight" to Ottley's rather "flat" people, but that huge jump in quality leaves when Rauch does.

The Flaws:
However... there are flaws. A good bunch of them.

Supporting Characters Don't Get Squat:
* You like a supporting character? Well if it's not Eve or a Viltrumite, then too bad- they usually get casually murdered and are barely dwelled on. Major supporters like William and Amber go from "every issue" appearances to never being in the book again after a point. It's quite funny, because it's both a positive and a negative that Invincible feels like you're reading one-quarter of an entire Comic Book Universe, and they just aren't releasing the other 3/4.

Flying Bricks R Us:
* Like unusual and clever powers? TOO BAD- Flying Bricks are the only heroes that can compete in this world. Even the MINOR characters are Flying Bricks! Kirkman uses this power set on almost every major character with powers- there are almost NO Blasters in this book aside from Atom Eve and Rex Splode. That the main Viltrumites have this power-set wouldn't be so bad if the book didn't already have Immortal, Black Samson & Bulletproof as members of THE SAME TEAM. It gets to the point where Monster Girl gets points for NOT being able to fly, and Brit gets them for ONLY being invulnerable! You never see Magical Powers, Telepathy, Telekinesis or anything. It's VERY weirdly-limited, like he has no imagination for anything but hitting.

Forgotten Subplots & Characters as Cannon Fodder:
* Various subplots are done with VERY quickly (Debbie's alcoholism; Debbie & Nolan's reunion; the Guardians splitting from Cecil before casually rejoining after the Invincible War; the fallout from Anissa raping Mark). And any superhero on Earth who ISN'T a Viltrumite just isn't worth worrying about- Bulletproof and Black Samson are given only the most temporary bouts of credibility before they're beaten up as afterthoughts, usually going down off-panel (to Battle Beast, to the Mauler Twins, to Evil Invincibles, etc.)- it's like being a non-Saiyan in Dragon Ball Z- you're just living Cannon Fodder.

GORE! GORE! GORE!:
The shock value with the violence and subject matter is so overwhelming that the book is more or less impossible to really take seriously after a point- not only is the gore omnipresent, but various things like Bulletproof and his wife manslaughtering his father, the deaths of major & minor characters, genocide and rape all being shot out one after the other... it wears on you to the point where you don't care any longer.

Infodumps & Clumsy Exposition:
* Characters speak a bit too much in "Exposition-Ese" at times. There are MANY issues where it's literally just one character going on and on about something, explaining the new status quo. The first issue with Cecil, after Omni-Man abandons Earth, is literally just "okay, this is my history with your father; this was his job; this is what your life is like now; this is what we're going to do". Really, the comic is just FULL of infodumps- Nolan explaining the "World Betterment Committee" to his young son. Nolan revealing the TRUTH behind the Viltrumites to Mark. Cecil explaining his purpose to Mark, and his guilt at the revelation that Nolan is evil. Cecil explaining that someone leaked Nolan & Mark's conversation to the public. Nolan explaining his personality to Mark on his new home planet. It's a testament to Ryan Ottley's skill that this remains interesting, as many issues devolve into talking heads, but rather than be Bendis-style (ie. xeroxing pages), the heads are always changing, making different expressions, reacting in unique ways... Ottley does the best with it.

Shit's Too Easy:
* This one's arguably the biggest flaw of the series- nobody is that bright, and almost every possible problem that CAN'T be solved with punching is done away with very quickly. The Viltrumites appear to be an unstoppable Army of Gods? SURPRISE! There's actually less than fifty of them! And a handful can be one-shotted by Space Racer, Allen and Ragnar monsters!
* Mark is all alone after his father leaves? SURPRISE! Turns out a government organization can lead him everywhere he needs to be, and also deal with his family's financial future in a heartbeat!
* Various infants are born, and have to be written into the plots, while it's established that Mark only gained super-strength in his late teens? SURPRISE! His half-brother is from a super-aging race so he gains powers in childhood, and all future Half-Viltrumites inexplicably gain powers in their adolescent years! Mark's daughter even ages up as part of a timeskip! Wasn't THAT easy?
* Allen the Alien is popular, but was made too weak to harm the villains? SURPRISE! Getting nearly-killed actually makes him stronger, and then he stays at that same power level forever!
* Eve is dead, breaking the hearts of fans? SURPRISE! She has super-resurrection powers! She even does this to herself and MARK later- she's basically like how Dragon Ball Z utterly lacks any drama because the characters can just be brought back no matter what.
* Mark's facing a variety of super-genius opponents like Angstrom Levy, Robot, and Cecil, along with enemies MUCH stronger than him, like Thragg & Conquest? SURPRISE! Every one of these people can be easily defeated with MOAR PUNCHING.
* All of these potentially genocidal villains? SURPRISE! Most of them are easily-forgiven once people see their remorse, even if someone like Omni-Man has killed thousands of people.

It's actually a weird contrast. Mark can suffer all manner of personal calamity, and supporting characters can die in droves, but nearly every ACTUAL problem is done away with in moments, usually by either Deux Ex Machina or MOAR PUNCHING. Mark almost never outsmarts his foes- he just gets angry and punches them to death. Most of the villains who get built up over a dozen or so issues (Levy, The Sequids, The Reanimen) actually get defeated in an issue or two.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Upper_Krust on March 13, 2018, 08:39:52 PM
Agree with many of your comments Jabroniville. I'll re-read all the trades when I get the last one to freshen things in my mind but I think its an above average comic that really hit greatness during the early-middle period but fell off towards the end.

If I had to peg the slow decline (Post Viltrumite War) of the book I'd have to say Kirkman's inability to up the ante and present a sufficient challenge to Mark.

But I wanted to individually address some of your criticisms.

Shit's Too Easy:
* This one's arguably the biggest flaw of the series- nobody is that bright, and almost every possible problem that CAN'T be solved with punching is done away with very quickly. The Viltrumites appear to be an unstoppable Army of Gods? SURPRISE! There's actually less than fifty of them! And a handful can be one-shotted by Space Racer, Allen and Ragnar monsters!

Well otherwise the heroes would have been totally fucked. I think a bigger problem (than the 50 Viltrumites remaining one) was that some of the Viltrumites were weaker than Invincible himself. I'd agree THAT was a cop out.

Quote
* Mark is all alone after his father leaves? SURPRISE! Turns out a government organization can lead him everywhere he needs to be, and also deal with his family's financial future in a heartbeat!

Logically this simply makes sense. If you have superheroes then there would be some sort of agency trying to control them.

Quote
* Various infants are born, and have to be written into the plots, while it's established that Mark only gained super-strength in his late teens? SURPRISE! His half-brother is from a super-aging race so he gains powers in childhood, and all future Half-Viltrumites inexplicably gain powers in their adolescent years! Mark's daughter even ages up as part of a timeskip! Wasn't THAT easy?

To me that was simply clever writing.

Quote
* Allen the Alien is popular, but was made too weak to harm the villains? SURPRISE! Getting nearly-killed actually makes him stronger, and then he stays at that same power level forever!

I thought that was a nod to DragonballZ.

Quote
* Eve is dead, breaking the hearts of fans? SURPRISE! She has super-resurrection powers! She even does this to herself and MARK later- she's basically like how Dragon Ball Z utterly lacks any drama because the characters can just be brought back no matter what.

In my opinion you can get away with this sort of Deus ex Machina ONCE in a comic. More than that and you 'lose' the reader.

Quote
* Mark's facing a variety of super-genius opponents like Angstrom Levy, Robot, and Cecil, along with enemies MUCH stronger than him, like Thragg & Conquest? SURPRISE! Every one of these people can be easily defeated with MOAR PUNCHING.

The Conquest fight was one of the best in the history of comics.

Quote
* All of these potentially genocidal villains? SURPRISE! Most of them are easily-forgiven once people see their remorse, even if someone like Omni-Man has killed thousands of people.

I don't think Omni-man was forgiven by the people of Earth only by Mark and Cecil (who knew/suspected he couldn't stop Omni-man). We see that Cecil is happy to use former criminals (and their talents) to further his goals of protecting the planet.

Quote
It's actually a weird contrast. Mark can suffer all manner of personal calamity, and supporting characters can die in droves, but nearly every ACTUAL problem is done away with in moments, usually by either Deux Ex Machina or MOAR PUNCHING. Mark almost never outsmarts his foes- he just gets angry and punches them to death. Most of the villains who get built up over a dozen or so issues (Levy, The Sequids, The Reanimen) actually get defeated in an issue or two.

Not sure what you are asking here:

1. Mark is a college drop-out, not a super-genius. He's not going to outsmart intellectual villains, he's simply going to overcome their plans by not giving up.

2. Levy; The Sequids and the Reanimen are recurring villains.
A. As recurring villains you don't need to 'blow the whole wad' in one story.
B. How many issues do you want devoted to individual threats!? A couple of issues is plenty and keeps the pacing up.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Jabroniville on March 14, 2018, 06:40:32 AM
Bunch of stuff

See, most of these rebuttals are fine... INDIVIDUALLY. The fact that the series did this with almost every single threat is the problem.

Quote
To me that was simply clever writing.
Oliver being a super-aging kid was somewhat clever (at least Kirkman didn't get TRULY lazy with it until later), but all of the Half-Viltrumite kids being super-powerful even as small children? Going against Mark getting his powers as a teen? It was clearly Kirkman just going "ah, the hell with it".

Quote
I thought that was a nod to DragonballZ.
Kirkman INSISTS that he's never watched the show. Probably because the parallels are so clear that people would accuse him of hackery if he copped to it. Personally, I don't buy it- there's too much the two have in common for this all to be coincidence.

Quote
In my opinion you can get away with this sort of Deus ex Machina ONCE in a comic. More than that and you 'lose' the reader.
Yeah, they pulled it off twice. Thrice, if you wanna get specific and go by the ending.
Quote
The Conquest fight was one of the best in the history of comics.
Hard to deny. But still... Mark more or less solo'd the guy who was built up as an unstoppable threat- Eve only got in one shot.

Quote
Not sure what you are asking here:

1. Mark is a college drop-out, not a super-genius. He's not going to outsmart intellectual villains, he's simply going to overcome their plans by not giving up.

2. Levy; The Sequids and the Reanimen are recurring villains.
A. As recurring villains you don't need to 'blow the whole wad' in one story.
B. How many issues do you want devoted to individual threats!? A couple of issues is plenty and keeps the pacing up.
My issue was that most of Mark's threats were dealt with too simply and easily. A couple of times he got smart (like how he got off of the alternate dimension Robot trapped him in), but the rest of the time he just broke his limits again and punched the other guy to death.

The thing with the short-lived threats came to me as I was re-reading, as they'd build guys up for a YEAR, only to have the battle end in a single issue's time. It felt very weird to have that happen repeatedly.
Title: Re: Re-Reading Invincible
Post by: Upper_Krust on March 14, 2018, 07:36:38 AM
See, most of these rebuttals are fine... INDIVIDUALLY. The fact that the series did this with almost every single threat is the problem.

I can accept that, I thought you were right on most of your points.

Quote
Quote
To me that was simply clever writing.

Oliver being a super-aging kid was somewhat clever (at least Kirkman didn't get TRULY lazy with it until later),

Agreed, it was a cool way to bring in a sibling that wasn't going to be a baby for years.

Quote
but all of the Half-Viltrumite kids being super-powerful even as small children? Going against Mark getting his powers as a teen? It was clearly Kirkman just going "ah, the hell with it".

The idea of it was a good extension of the time travel/fast aging gimmick, but the execution of it was poor. It was as if Thragg grew impatient and rushed his plans (maybe by that stage Kirkman knew Ottley wanted to leave and just tried to wrap everything up quickly?).

Quote
Quote
I thought that was a nod to DragonballZ.

Kirkman INSISTS that he's never watched the show. Probably because the parallels are so clear that people would accuse him of hackery if he copped to it. Personally, I don't buy it- there's too much the two have in common for this all to be coincidence.

Who knows, its a bit suspicious though. Even before I ever watched the show I knew basically what it was and I suspect anyone into comics (as much as Kirkman) might know as well.

Quote
Hard to deny. But still... Mark more or less solo'd the guy who was built up as an unstoppable threat- Eve only got in one shot.

1. Conquest initially takes the fight too lightly.
2. Oliver saves Mark on one occasion.
3. Eve does burn virtually all his skin off down to the muscle.
4. Mark does think Conquest just killed Eve.

To me the end result is just about believable. Its a great 'against the odds' win.

Quote
My issue was that most of Mark's threats were dealt with too simply and easily. A couple of times he got smart (like how he got off of the alternate dimension Robot trapped him in), but the rest of the time he just broke his limits again and punched the other guy to death.

I think you have to take into consideration the state of Mark's health after many of these battles. He's often hospitalized/comatized for weeks after.

Quote
The thing with the short-lived threats came to me as I was re-reading, as they'd build guys up for a YEAR, only to have the battle end in a single issue's time. It felt very weird to have that happen repeatedly.

I think maybe comic readers in general have been so desensitized by decompressed comics that taking care of threats in an issue or two (ie. basically how the first 50+ years of comics handled things) is jarring. :)