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Re-Reading Invincible

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2018, 12:44:10 AM »
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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.

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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.

NeoGreenLantern

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2018, 05:29:41 PM »
FYI the final issue is out today.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #32 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!!!

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #33 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #34 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?

altoon

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #35 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #36 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?

altoon

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #37 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. 

MTL76

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #38 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.


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Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #39 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).


altoon

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #40 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.

NeoGreenLantern

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #41 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #42 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 :).

MTL76

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #43 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.


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Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #44 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.