Invincible – Comic to Cartoon Show – Season 1

I finished watching the last episode of Invincible last week and can speak to the series so far in comparison to the comic. Generally, I think they are doing a great job with the cartoon show and the pacing is solid. The Invincible comic starts slower and then ramps up a bit quicker when it does get going than the show–then it starts to cover a LOT of ground. I’m over halfway through the comic series and unfortunately the writing quality really starts to drop, I THINK due to the tie-ins with the other Image comic heroes and what looks like some sort of cross-over event? The middle of the series has an interesting world-effecting plot line that seemed phoned in and didn’t mesh well with the overall metaplot of the series at all. I can’t tell from the trade paperbacks what else was going on with Image at the time, but I’m hoping the comic gets back to form.

But that’s far, far in the future for the Invincible cartoon show and I’m sure they will clean that part up (or even skip it).

In terms of the show’s pacing, the cartoon did the Omni-man plot much slower than in the comic, but did the ‘guardians of the globe’ plot much earlier. The Mauler Twins/ Robot incident doesn’t happen in the comic until long after the main ‘twist’ to the series is revealed. So we got more time with Mark and his dad and less time with development of the Guardians (the new ones that is, I’m trying real hard not to have any spoilers).

The coolest ‘added’ part in the show which isn’t in the comic is when Omni-man goes to the other dimension where the invaders keep coming from and fucks them up, big time. This was eluded to in the comic but never directly shown (as it would reveal too much about Omni-man at that time in the story). That was great.

The battle in the very first episode and the team battle in episode 5(?) vs Machine head were both superb. The comic handles the first Omniman battle quite differently and the Machinehead fight just hit all the numbers with even more intensity than the comic. Image comics (the good ones) have always had solid fight scenes, especially Savage Dragon, and I think Invincible deftly pays homage to Eric Larson’s masterwork.

Of course, there’s shit I didn’t like. I do not like the show’s version of Amber. The girl that Mark was protecting from that bully guy in the comic was not Amber, it was another girl and that girl had no interest in Mark at all. The issue has nothing to do with the fact that they changed her to a different character/skin color, it’s that Amber in the comic LOVES Mark, and it takes a really long time for things to go south because of his duties as Omni-man v2. Comic-Amber doesn’t ever tell him to fuck off and frankly, the way he’s treated by cartoon-Amber in comparison– she has no value as a girlfriend at all compared to the Amber in the comic book. It’s very strange. It’s like they wanted to make this empowered woman that won’t take any shit but that’s not at all what Amber in the comic is about, and Mark really tries to be a nice guy (albeit with anger management issues) and doesn’t ever give her any shit to deal with except the fact that he has to run all over the place to save the town/city/world at times.

Multi-hued Viltrimites. In only one scene there are darker skinned Viltrimites. Typically the Viltrimites are pale with black hair– they all look pretty much the same except for a couple I’ve seen in the comic with different hair colors (usually older ones). While I’m not going to spoil anything about what they actually are, seeing them with different skin colors was very strange and didn’t make a lot of sense. Part of what makes the Viltrimites.. uhh… what they are is that they are all the same and if they aren’t the same, part of a plot later on that’s critical doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let’s see where they go with this one. I saw three of the main Viltrimite characters in the short cut scenes in the last episode and they all looked like they did in the comic.

Final episode pacing. After the big battle, there was a very long period of mellow scenes to roll the episode out. Frankly I would have left it with Omni-man flying away, then cut. I don’t think they knew they would get another season (they did) so maybe that’s why they ended it a bit like a movie.

Anyway, these are minor quibbles to a really awesome series with incredible violence and a compelling meta-plot to hang everything off of. I loved that the lines that Omni-man was saying to Mark in the last episode were things that many dads would say to their teen-age sons. I certainly heard such phrases from my dad, basically “I should have raised you differently, you don’t understand what you are supposed to be doing, you’re not listening, none of the things you think are important now are important at all when you put things in perspective.” Etc. Just like dad’s saying those things…. the eerie part is: many of those things end up being true for many sons. Let’s see if that’s so for Invincible!

One thing you can absolutely count on if you haven’t read the comic is that the level of crazy superhero graphic violence will continue on and on and on.

“I suspect that we are ill-formed for the path we have chosen. Ill-formed and ill-prepared. We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place. It is our faintness of heart that would close our eyes to all of that, but in so doing it makes of it our destiny‚Ķ But nothing is crueler than a coward, and the slaughter to come is probably beyond our imagining.”

Invincible Series debut Friday

While my daughter said “this looks like it has a 2$ budget” from the trailer, she will be forced to watch at least the first episode of Invincible on Friday.

I passed the comic up at the comic store based on how…. lame the main character’s uniform is. It’s striking, but looks like Elastic Man with different colors. However I gave it a try and the comic is good, easy reading, especially after I’ve been on the Alan Moore stuff for so long that is both text and artistically dense as hell (mostly due to Kevin O’Neill–wow) and let’s see how the show follows suit. There is a BIG twist in the series that doesn’t suck at all, mostly because when the twist happens, that’s when the story really starts– If you find it slow at first, stick with it early on until, well, you will know.

There are some parts that get tedious, but when the fighting starts it gets good in the same vein as Savage Dragon (who is in the series as well). The super hero battles deliver on a level rarely seen in DC or Marvel stuff and because the characterization and development is so strong outside the fights, they don’t turn into just your standard early Image constant battle comics (see 90’s Cyber Force, Brigade, Youngblood, Supreme, WildCATS, Stormwatch… did I miss any?).