Dear Invincible

We’ve had some fun times, you and I.  I remember many years ago, I was eager to expand my reading beyond just DC stuff, and I had heard of how amazing you were.  I picked up the first volume, and it was incredibly good.  I was hooked.  I bought the next 5 volumes.  I couldn’t wait for volume 7 to come out, so I found issues 30-41 online.  From there, I was loyally buying every issue each month.  Or every couple of months.  Things got a little sketchy for a while.  But I didn’t care.  I just wanted new issues.  You were living up to your tagline of being the “best superhero book in the universe.”  But then things went wrong.

Let’s remember the good times, first.  You were at your best when showing how a teenager/young adult was trying to learn how to use his powers to become a superhero.  That was your strength.  Hell, I’ll still recommend the first part of the series to people.  It was fun to watch Mark Grayson try to get a handle on his new powers, while at the same time dealing with the difficulties those powers created in everyday life.  This is when the book was at its best.  When things were on a small, personal scale.

But you couldn’t keep things small, could you?  You just had to expand, and create your own little universe, didn’t you?  It started slowly.  There was the revelation that Mark’s father was actually an alien that was sent to Earth to scout it for invasion.  At the time, I was saddened by this, as was the intent of the story.  Mark had fought his father to protect his home planet.  It was a very emotional moment.  And it was well done.  But in hindsight, this was the beginning of the end for me, because it  introduced the Viltrumite empire.

I know that it seems odd for me to say that this was the beginning of the end, because it happened relatively early in the series, but it is the thing that set what ultimately became the series downfall for me, The Viltrumite War.  For me, this was an incredibly frustrating story to read.  It was so uneven.  There was an issue in the middle of it that took place over a month of real time, that had Mark’s father and brother, Robert and Oliver, talking while Mark was healing up from having his insides torn out.  Sure, it was probably an issue that needed to happen eventually, but not in the middle of a war that you’ve been hyping for most of the series.

But I made it through the Viltrumite War, frustrated that it ended with the Viltrumites living on Earth, but hopeful that they would fade away for a while.  And my hope lasted for a bit, but then Las Vegas was turned into a sheet of glass.  In the same week that Robert Kirkman complained about comics like Batman and Superman were too bloody and gory for kids to read, he turned Las Vegas into a sheet of glass with an explosion in his incredibly bloody and gory (remember the insides out bit from earlier, that has happened a lot in this comic) superhero comic.

It is at that point where I really started to question why I was buying this book.  I gave it several more issues to see if it would turn around, and it didn’t.  Things got worse.  Allen the Alien was willing to risk destroying the Earth, so we had the boring “heroes fighting” gimmick.  Mark was put out of commission for a relatively short time, but a time in which he was replaced by a minor side character that his little connection to Invincible, and little reason for me to care about.  I know you’re doing the whole “filling in for the main hero” bit, but you’re doing it wrong.  That bit works when the characters are closely connected, so it means something when they go from sidekick to main guy (ex. Dick Grayson, Bucky).  But this guy just liked the costume, so he’s filling in.  That’s pointless.  Especially since Mark is already healed up from his encounter with the Scourge virus.  But whatever.

This book had become a habit purchase that I was not enjoying.  And so issue 90 is the last issue of Invincible that I will ever purchase.  Good-bye Invincible.  I’ll always remember the fun times.

J. R.

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