Invincible: Family Matters
by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker
(Image, 2003)

Forgive me, I'm just now catching up. I finally picked up the first trade collection of Image Comics' Invincible. A lot of buzz surrounds this book, the series now having run for over two years.

The story revolves around a teenage boy who has inherited his superhero dad's powers. Nothing new, in and of itself, of course. It's creator/writer Robert Kirkman's skill at characterization and plot-crafting that causes this book to be a diamond among the lumps of coal that largely comprise the superhero genre today.

Kirkman's main character, Mark Grayson, is pretty much your typical high school kid. Well, besides his obvious anticipation of his genetic birthright kicking in. The scene in which this happens is as entertaining (as is Mark's response) as it is surreal, and something the likes of which I had never seen during over 30 years of comics indulgence.

Kirkman also manages to breathe life into Mark's father, his world's "iconic" superhero. This is done primarily through a scene in which daddy decides to sit down with Mark and have "the talk." It's not what readers expect. At least, not EVERYTHING they expect. I believe Mark's mother would be called the "down-to-earth" character. And how! With no superpowers, she deals with the dangers associated with her family members' calling with the solidity of concrete.

Or ... does she? This is a character with layers to be pulled back, I believe. Kirkman's story of a young man's desire to follow in his father's footsteps rings a poignant bell with a big fat hammer of superheroic fun!

Top all of this great characterization and story with stunningly action-oriented pencils and inks by Cory Walker, and you've got the hit everyone's been talking about. So, Invincible: Family Matters is recommended for those who enjoy superhero stories with style, as well as substance.

by Mark Allen
18 February 2006

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