For those semi-exhausted by Disney’s endless MCU content or the ceaseless fan pleas for Warner Bros. to #restorethesnyderverse, Amazon has a refreshing breakaway: Invincible (★★★★★). The adult animated series recently concluded its first eight-episode season (it’s been renewed for two more), and is as addictive as it is satisfying.
Without spoiling anything, Invincible tells the story of Mark Greyson (Steven Yeun), the 17-year-old offspring of alien superhero Omni-Man (a magnificent J.K. Simmons) and his Earth-born wife (Sandra Oh). When Mark comes of age, so do his superpowers, and the narrative follows him as he struggles to balance life as a teenage high school senior and potential world savior. The story, gripping and full-blooded (literally), leads Mark down a dark path of discovery, into a universe teeming with more superheroes than you can flick a cape at.
The series is the brainchild of Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, and is based on a 144-issue comic book series the writer created in 2003 with artist Corey Walker. The show is crammed full of immediately recognizable archetypes that, at first blush, appear to be satirizing the format. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Archetypes are a familiar trope in comic books,” says Kirkman. “Marvel Comics has their Squadron Supreme, which is an archetype of the Justice League. There’s a DC Universe archetype of The Avengers. What we do in Invincible is use it to rapidly build familiarity. We want the audience to feel comfortable in our universe, to feel like they know our universe. Once we’ve established that, we then start breaking the toys, moving into new territory, and telling different stories. New things are pumped into Invincible to make it as unique as possible.”
Among the unique aspects is the inclusion of an LGBTQ character named William (Andrew Rannells), who is also Mark’s best friend and, in episode six, gets a provocative story arc.
“William is an essential part of the Invincible story,” says Kirkman. “There are a lot of different stories that come from his sexuality that will be worked into the series.” Including the character in the comics in 2003 was instinctive for Kirkman. “When you’re a storyteller, you want to reflect the world that you are in, that is around you every day. I know many, many people who are in the LGBT community and representation matters. I’m really happy with how [William’s] story plays out.”
The first season of Invincible is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Visit www.amazon.com/amazon-video.
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