The anticapted animated series Invincible has finally landed on Amazon Prime. I knew little about this property going in but the buzz around this series has been so real. How did the first episodes fair? Let’s break it down.
Tone: The first episode introduces us to Mark Grayson (Oscar nominated, Steven Yeun), a teenage son to a human woman and a Superman inspired father, Omni-man (J.K. Simmons) as he anticipates the manifestation of his powers.
We are given what feels like a PG animated series exploring the parallels between teen angst and super abilities. It’s a young man looking to his father as he transitions from boyhood to manhood. It all feels innocent enough until we get to the last ten minutes of the first episode (I won’t spoil the context because it’s a series defining scene). It is the sales pitch that lets the audience know we were punked; this is not going to be your typical teen angst super powered story. I would describe the tone of this series to be a happy medium between DC’s Young Justice and Amazon’s very own The Boys; a tone I didn’t know I needed in my life!
Story: The series is based on the Image Comics series of the same name. After the first three episodes I am absolutely going to look into the book and start reading. These first installments are introducing us to our main cast of heroes, the conflict, and laying ground work for what already appears to be a very exciting and tense build up.
I admit there were certain story/relationship beats that didn’t have my attention and I was dozing off a bit at some conversations. That being said, it is a tip of the hat to the series more than a criticism because the reason for this is due to the first episode’s conclusion. It does a great job of hooking you into the stakes and the potential that you just want to get to the meat of this.
I do appreciate if the show is looking to give the slow burn strategy. It’s a drag for weekly release shows but the pay off can be so rewarding (The Mandalorian). Speaking of the Disney+ series, Invincible’s freshman season will also consist of eight episodes. I’m looking forward to how events take shape within such a compact block.
Action: The real takeaway from the premiere episodes is the beauty of the action sequences. There is some serious work here on visuals and different animation textures that makes the episodes jaw-dropping. This is yet another reason why I wanted to skip through some character scenes; I just wanted Mark to suit up again and get back out there!
So far the show has great characters, emotional anchors, a vision for its future, amazing sequences, and even in the midst of some real gore there’s a whole lot of fun and laughs too.
It’s a welcomed breath of fresh air in a Marvel/DC dominated field.