Written by: Robert Kirkman
Inked by: Corey Walker and Cliff Rathburn
Lettered by: Russ Wooton
Published by: Image Comics
Reviewed by:Kristian Horn
The world doesn’t need me to tell them how great a comic book writer Robert Kirkman is. It’s a pretty established fact at this point that Kirkman can write some pretty decent stuff when it comes to sequential stories. He’s taken the world by storm with The Walking Dead and he’s been writing one of the best superhero comics on the stands with Invincible. With this recent collection of Invincible comics Kirkman continues to prove that he’s a writer who understands what it takes to make a superhero story work.
As I’ve stated again and again on this site and in our podcasts, I don’t collect weekly floppies anymore. Because of that, these Invincible collections have become somewhat of an annual treat with me. Getting the Invincible collections in the mail almost brings me the thrill I had as a child opening presents on Christmas morning. When I open up that box and see another hot chunk of Kirkman superhero universe staring up at me waiting to be read my heart flutters with anticipation. None of the books have ever disappointed me and volume eight of The Invincible Ultimate Collection continued the book’s track record by living up to my expectations and going beyond them.
This chapter of Invincible deals mostly with a moral dilemma that Allen the Alien must face when he comes into possession of a virus which could quite literally eliminate the threat of the Viltrumite Empire forever. The only problem is that Viltrumites and humans have very similar genetic structures and if the virus were to be released where the Viltrumites have now taken refuge (the planet Earth) not only would it destroy the last remaining Viltrumites but it could also eliminate the human race as a whole. Once our hero discovers his friend’s plan and its possible implications for the planet of his birth…well, let’s just say things don’t go down too smoothly between the former allies.
Kirkman does a terrific job of fleshing out each character’s viewpoints in this volume of Invincible. Kirkman explores a morality tale while balancing it with the bombastic style of a superhero comic. Each player plays their part and at no point in the story do any of the character’s motives seem false or uncharacteristic of what has come before. Kirkman knows what makes superhero stories work. It’s almost as if he took a course on what made so many of the great comics of the 1980’s work so well. Take a bit of melodrama, mix it with compelling and fun characters, blend in some kickass action, and you’ve got a superhero comic that just completely satisfies my appetite for a great story and that comic is called Invincible.
And while the main storyline is a compelling one, Kirkman presents an additional subplot that takes the Invincible comic one step beyond its normal boundaries. A chunk of this book deals with what happened between two somewhat lesser characters in Invincible’s life when they were whisked away to an alternate dimension in a previous edition. This is where Kirkman’s writing talent really shines through. Alternating between the Invincible universe’s present and the past of the alternate universe, Kirkman treats readers to a powerful tale of a revolution fought against an alien race and the toll it takes on the two heroes fighting in it. This, to me, was the best part of the book. Hell, it may even be the best part of the whole Invincible series! I found this section of the narrative to be the best thing I’d read in a comic in a long time and it’s a story that kept me from being able to put the book down once I started reading it. Seriously, I read this whole collection in one afternoon. That’s how good it is.
The artwork in Invincible is, as always, incredible. Ryan Ottley still proves to be one of the best illustrators in comics. Every page of Ottley’s work offered some fantastic image that would impress me without fail. Corey Walker does the art chores during the alternate dimension sequences and his work more than lives up to the standard that Ottley sets with the rest of the book. In some ways Walker’s talent may even surpass Ottley’s. What most impressed me about the book’s visuals were the talents of Invincible’s colorists. The color palette of this comic is always gorgeous to look at but what the colorist achieved during the Corey Walker sequences was striking even for this book. With the combined talents of this particular team of pencillers, inkers, and colorists Invincible continues to be one of the best looking comics on the stands.
If you are not reading this book and you love superhero comics then I don’t know what to tell you other than you are missing out on some of the seriously best comic book storytelling out there today. Invincible reigns at the top of the heap of superhero books. Few other spandex adventurer books come close.