I fancy myself a knowledgeable TV watcher, especially in regards to the genres that I am most interested in such as sci-fi, crime drama, and anime. However, the explosion of access to television content that online streaming now offers has proven me a fool. Case in point, the recent premiere of Amazon Prime Video's incredibly addictive new animated superhero series Invincible. Over the years, I had heard and read several positive recommendations on the Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker comic book version of Invincible, but never paid much attention to the chatter. I stumbled onto the Amazon version only through happenstance. While reading a review of Steven Yeun's film Minari, I found that Yeun had recently worked as the voice actor for a part in Invincible. Being a Yeun fan, and having never heard of the movie, I decided to log onto my Amazon Prime account and watch.
Truth be told, the first 20 minutes of the first episode was far from exciting. That is, the drama provided what you would expect from an "adult" superhero drama. Thankfully, however, I decided to "stick it out" until the end of the second episode. The consequent development of the story from a rather one-dimensional coming of age superhero saga to an "eyes wide open" writer's take on superhero deviancy, cosmic mystery, the tension between different generations of superheroes, and what it would be like for a teenage hero to have to deal newfound powers without much training or preparation was amazing.
The story, as far as I can tell from watching the first two episodes, combines elements of The Watchmen, The Boys, The Umbrella Academy, and The Sopranos. It centers on the life of Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), who for lack of a better description is bi-species. That is, his mom is human, but his dad is the alien super-hero known as Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), the most powerful superhero on the planet. Omni-Man is part of a superhero collective known as the Guardians of the Globe which is comparable to DC's Justice League, and Marvel's Avengers. Needless to say, Mark's upbringing is anything but normal. To increase the tension, as Mark enters "teenage-hood" he must struggle initially with the fact that his Dad is one of the world's mightiest heroes, while he remains "unexceptional." Indeed, try as he might to live up to his father's standards, Mark remains unequivocally human.
Then, while taking out the trash for his part-time job at a fast-food restaurant, Mark's powers finally come to fruition when while attempting to throw the bag in the garbage dumpster, he ends up throwing it into space. Understanding that his powers have finally revealed themselves, Mark seeks the help of his father, Omni-Man. But his Dad, who is a bit old-school, would rather have Mark learn by trial-and-error rather than hold his hand. However, being a much in need superhero himself, Omni-Man is rarely home to give his son those choice morsels of experience. As a result, Mark often has to figure it out on his own. Eventually, Mark runs into a group of other teenagers who, while more experienced than him in using their powers are still teenagers, doing teenage things, all while battling to save the world from criminals and alien invaders.
As an added wrinkle, Mark's mom, Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh), who up until now has been his focal point, is increasingly wondering where she fits in a family of super-powered beings. I found it interesting that this series is being aired at the same time as The CW’s Superman & Lois, which also tells the story of how the teenage children of a super-powered alien and a human deal with life.
Anyway, soon enough, the story turns a dark corner, as we learn that Omni-Man is not the "man" his wife and son think him to be. Suffice it to say, he makes The Boy's Homelander seem rather dull. Needless to say, the first two episodes packed enough into them to warrant continued watching. Moreover, from the arc of the story so far, it seems that Invincible will only get better.
Anyway, give it a watch and tell us what you think in the comments.
Written by lao.san on Mar 30, 2021