If one were to say; “It’s no secret that Carl Blackman likes comics!” it would be both truthful and a bit of an understatement. Although like any human being I am both diverse and varied in the scope of my likes and dislikes, it is comics that combine a multitude of the things I enjoy into a neat package. Comic books, graphic novels, or cartoon funnies. Even though the names may differ they all combine written word, pictures, and visual storytelling elements to convey a story that can be as light hearted as any fairytale or complex as an Oscar winning drama. So while comics aren’t everyone’s fair, they are my passion.
All these roses and sweet words aside, most people know comics for its superheroes. Larger than life heroes like Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and the Hulk. Yet few know of one of comics best kept secrets. The one us, comic people in the know read and tell other comic people in the quote unquote “KNOW” about. So let me tell you a little secret… There is a superhero comic that is one of the best written pieces of fiction today and it’s not published by Marvel or DC. It’s published by a third lesser known company called Image. It stars a teenager named Markus Sebastian Grayson “Mark” to those close to him, and he is…INVINCIBLE!
Co-Created and written by Robert Kirkman, creator and writer of The Walking Dead, artist Cory Walker, and currently penciled by Ryan Ottley, Invincible chronicles Marks journey from average teen to superhero. This sojourn however isn’t your typical fair. You see Mark isn’t as average as it seems. Marks’s bestselling author father is actually Omniman, the world’s greatest superhero! (Think superman) His father’s secret is something Mark has been harboring since he was seven waiting for the day he too would develop powers. Nevertheless he soon finds that Omniman’s shoes are indeed big ones to fill.
Throughout his adventures Mark learns the perks and pitfalls of being a hero as he interacts with his new superhero peers. Whether it’s meeting the dismissive Guardians of the Globe, (Think the Justice League) or the cluster of angst, hormones, and egos that is the Teen Team. (Think Teen Titans.) Mark finds that the new social interactions with the super community are just as complicated and daunting as his normal every day ones, which by the way he still has to juggle while attending school.
What sets this book apart is Kirkman’s writing. Kirkman quickly and deftly sets up a world that feels both natural and lived in, without bogging the reader down with 60 years of continuity. All the characters feel like they have their own goals, motives, and lives that continue on when Mark isn’t around. It is a very rare thing when supporting cast in a book feels more like an ensemble than group of people who move story and fill space.
The tone of Invincible swings from light hearted fluff to dangerously intense without missing a beat. Kirkman delivers some of the best writing in comics hands down. That being said, the action is both some of the most epic and brutal confrontations put to page! Before I go on let me state this…This book is not intended for kids! The colors may be bright but this book can get just as gruesome as The Walking Dead!
Kirkman delivers a superhero tale for the kid that hides inside the adult you’ve become, while placating the adult in you with complex story composition. So there it is… the secrets out! You are now in the club and in the know! So go pick up a copy, (it’s available in collected form as a paperback, hardcover, and if you’re feeling frisky a omnibus volume.) With its deep characterization, hard hitting drama, pulse pounding action, and gripping story it’s no wonder the best kept secret in superhero comics is called INVINCIBLE!