By Meghana Krishnamurthy, Second Year, Film and Television
This mashup of traditional tropes and diverse new features manages to hold your attention, even if the main characters aren’t necessarily memorable.
Invincible is based on the comic series of the same name, which follows the story of seventeen-year-old teen Mark Grayson (Steven Yuen) as he receives his superpowers in a world where superheroes are the norm. But he struggles to find his own identity with the legacy of his father Omni-Man (J.K Simmons) hanging over his head. It could be said that J.K. Simmons was ‘made’ for this role, as he has already starred in all three Sony Spiderman films, two Spiderman games and voices the airbending master Tenzin in The Legend of Korra.
The trailer made by Amazon Prime describes Invincible as a ‘ground-breaking series,’ but doesn’t exactly prove itself to be so. The only aspect which really broke stereotypes was the diversity that the characters bring to the show. Mark and his mother Debbie (Sandra Oh) are of Asian descent, and Mark’s friend William is gay, something we don’t see much in mainstream superhero moguls Marvel or DC.
The show still retains some traditional tropes, like the hyperactive American government with advanced technology supporting the superhero task force, the unassuming boy developing superpowers, and where one of the female superheroes is clad in short, all pink with an unfaithful boyfriend. This series was clearly created by a group of white men.
That being said, the main plotline is refreshing to say the least. The first episode mostly covers Mark’s ‘origin story’ as he goes from a regular kid at college to a superhero, naming himself ‘Invincible.’ His self-realisation whizzes through the episode pretty quickly, as he feels held back by the fame that his father Omni-Man has, and if he can live up to the standards set so high.
The only aspect which really broke stereotypes was the diversity that the characters bring to the show
But the speed at which these doubts evaporate from Mark’s mind leaves viewers wondering if the writers should have put in effort exploring them a little more. It is only after the biggest plot twist past the midpoint of episode one (no spoilers here), that it leaves your jaw hanging, hooked to figuring out how the story is going to proceed after the shocker. And it is after these unforeseen events that the series really does take off, introducing clever characters and plot devices which add varying levels of intrigue to the situation, such as Damien Darkblood, who acts as a detective to figure out the mysterious plot twist of episode one.
The remarkable thing about this show is definitely the sheer number of superheroes introduced throughout the first three episodes. There are the Guardians of the Globe – loosely resembling the Justice League, with War Woman, Red Rush, Green Ghost and Darkwing. And after the Guardians face some… unfortunate circumstances, when the time comes to choose the new group of Guardians, there is at once another plethora of superheroes who rise to the selection event.
This includes a very impressive Monster Girl, Shrinking Rae and more. Apart from this, there is a group of Mark’s friends who he fights alongside with, including Atom Eve, Rex Splode, Robot and Dupli-Kate. The show has an exhaustive compendium of superheroes to throw at the audience, and this makes it exciting, seeing who they can whip up into a storm. Combining that with the visceral and vibrant combat of the animation, where every punch elicits a spray of blood truly refreshes the comic book superhero genre.
Sure, there are a few elements which will make you roll your eyes, but the fact that Mark’s school is called ‘Reginald VelJohnson’ school, and has the legend himself voicing the principal is a master stroke of genius.
Have you seen Invincible yet?