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Invincible #52

By Geoff Hoppe
September 14, 2008 - 19:47

Ryan Ottley presents every sibling relationship ever.
New isn’t always good. Comic book junkies (like myself) and other sundry geeks, especially, should know this. Dragonball Z got new dub voices partway through the Frieza saga. And they sucked. Facebook will change to New Facebook in but a mere few days. And it will suck, too. So it’s nice to see something new that at least keeps me entertained.

The Obligatory Warning: Pythonesque-yet-garish gore. If you don’t like to see a villain’s head explode like a water balloon full of hamburger, avoid. Also, SPOILERS ahead. You’ve been warned.

Invincible #52 has teenage superhero Mark Grayson (nee Invincible) confronting the villainous Mauler twins over a silo of stolen nukes. Mark’s adopted half-brother, Oliver (aka Kid Omni-Man) arrives to assist Mark and accidentally reduces the Mauler twins to chunky spaghetti-os. As with any unintentional second-degree murder, this earns Oliver a stern talking-to from Mark.

The kicker is Oliver’s reaction to his homicidal “oops.” Mark cautions his younger brother: “We’re not murderers, Oliver…human life is a precious thing.” Oliver doesn’t agree: “Human life isn’t precious. Not in general-- not everyone…most of them are utterly insignificant.” Oliver has inherited his vicious sympathies from his (and Mark’s) father, the former superhero Omni-Man-- who, by the way, once slaughtered an entire team of superheroes in the name of the alien empire who sent him to take over the planet (it’s a long story).

What’s more surprising is Mark’s response. Since his father beat him to the verge of death early in the series, murder has been verboten for Mark. He’s always been a “clean” superhero whose only killing was accidental. So when Oliver asks Mark if he “ever thought that maybe our father was right,” Mark’s hesitant “sometimes” is legitimately shocking. Issue #50 started a new, darker tone in the series, and it would appear writer Robert Kirkman is guiding his flagship series into darker waters.

Whether this is a good move or not, only time will tell. The bleak battle between Mark and his father early on was some of Kirkman’s best work, but other dark arcs (like the Lizard League arc in issues 40 and 41) were some of his worst. Either way, #52 still surprises.

Ryan Ottley’s art maintains its usual sharpness, but his somewhat cartoony style doesn’t portray exploding viscera very well. New colorist FCO Plascencia gives Invincible a sleek, professional look that may seem gaudy at first, but grows on you with each rereading.

Worth the money? For fans, sure. Casual readers may feel out of place without a greater knowledge of the current story arc. Unless they like balloons full of ground chuck.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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