This animated series presents a graphic world of superheroes and a realistic lead protagonist
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
This theme reminds us what’s normally overlooked—that it’s okay to take things slow.
Amazon Prime Video’s new superhero cartoon Invincible premiered on March 26 and is an adaptation of the titular comic by Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley, and The Walking Dead’s graphic novelist Robert Kirkman. The three-episode premiere is surprisingly bloody, has a touch of superhero satire, and features grounded social subjects.
The story follows teenager Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) and his journey into adopting his superhero identity Invincible. The quasi-Justice League team, The Guardians of the Globe, is mysteriously murdered and this leaves Grayson and other young heroes to become Earth’s next saviours.
At the core of the premiere lies Grayson’s family relationships. He has a heartwarming dynamic with his parents that heavily humanizes him as a character.
Invincible also struggles to balance high school with his superhero life, reflecting how many of us are still trying to figure out our futures.His youthful energy and the immense pressure he places on himself to be the best hero he can be makes him a believable kid to root for.
Grayson’s personal expectations symbolize how we can be hard on ourselves to achieve as much as possible as quickly as possible. His impatience to perfect his powers explore the cultural norm of always rushing our lives to reach milestones before the time is right. This theme reminds us what’s normally overlooked—and that it’s okay to take things slow.
The social satire is overbearing at times since much of it has been done before. Invincible is topical like gritty superhero series The Boys; the show presents an absurd superhero world that laughs at its own silliness.
The parodies will produce a few snickers from viewers via their over-the-top heroes and cheesy supervillains. Nonetheless, they annoyingly take you out of the main story arc.
Another issue is that Grayson could’ve been more unaware of his powers and family secrets to make him further estranged from the show’s universe. Grayson knows these truths already and that leaves few surprises for us. This approach also makes the premiere’s inciting incident more shallow than impactful.
The show also has a dark tone from its eerie mystery, graphic violence, and Deadpool-style comedy. The story doesn’t hold back from its world’s extremes, so be prepared for that.
There are, however, upbeat moments through Invincible finally enjoying his superhero life. We see him fighting crime for the first time, albeit clumsily, and use sarcastic quips like an immature kid. This lends some welcoming levity to his battles.
Invincible starts out strong with a three-episode premiere that sets up relevant themes for today’s youth. This newest superhero cartoon series posits many relatable questions about growing up through its refreshing world. Its coming-of-age subjects balanced with brutal bouts and tongue-in-cheek humour guide the show’s surprisingly mature direction.