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Re-Reading Invincible

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #15 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #16 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.

Sick Nick

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #17 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #18 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.


Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #19 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #20 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.


Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #21 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #22 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #23 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.


Rufio

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #24 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.

MTL76

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #25 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.


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INDRA THUNDERER

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #26 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.

Jabroniville

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #27 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.

Rufio

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #28 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.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 04:12:37 PM by Rufio »

Rufio

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Re: Re-Reading Invincible
« Reply #29 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.