Review: Invincible Season 1 (2021)

Invincible season 1 consists of 8 episodes and are all available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

The second Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) comic to become a TV series adapting its bloody and humorous pages into an animated series on Amazon Prime Video.

PLOT AND STORY

From The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, and based on the Skybound/Image comic of the same name by Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, Invincible is an adult animated superhero show that revolves around seventeen-year-old Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), who’s just like every other guy his age — except that his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons). But as Mark develops powers of his own, he discovers that his father’s legacy may not be as heroic as it seems.

Hot on the heels of shows like The Boys and Umbrella Academy this is a new comic book adaptation show tailored specifically towards an adult audience. Whether it was Deadpool who paved the way for something new or it was just the right time for mature themed comic book shows but Invincible is another that is hitting all the right marks.

Adapting an existing property I don’t imagine is as easy as you might think because of course you want to please the fans of the source material but you don’t want to just create the same thing. You need to bring something new to the show so that everybody gets some mystery and surprise. With this in mind I think the writing team have done a great job in staying true to the comic with the characters and representation whilst adding some modern alterations to the society they live in. 

A structure which I think worked well was adopting the villain of the week method to the show. An example of this are The Flaxans who play quite a bigger part in the comic series than they do in the show but using different, throw away villains each week gives more freedom to explore the main characters life and relationships. 

Every episode is packed full of feelings you don’t expect to see or feel in a comic book show let alone an animated show. The final episode is one of the hardest most emotional episodes of TV I have ever watched.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

As an animated show this is as good as it gets. The animation isn’t on the level of Pixar or DreamWorks movies but I don’t think it tries to be. Invincible is an animated show based on a comic book series and that’s exactly what this looks like. Every single episode is filled with shots that look like they are ripped straight of the pages of Robert Kirkman’s series.

The action sequences are seamless and easy to follow which is something that often goes wrong in animation. The way fight scenes transition from the ground to the air and the mixture of hand to hand combat and super powers works every time and feels reminiscent to some of the DC Comics animated movies.

Something which makes this series stand out with a modern identity is it’s amazing soundtrack from artists like DJ Shadow, De La Soul, Danger Mouse and Vampire Weekend. There are some scenes when Invincible is in training which have high tempo dubstep/dance music over the top and create a very cool vibe to the show. 

One final touch of genius was the title card. It doesn’t appear at the start as standard, It only appears in the episode the first time when someone says the word Invincible. Also as the series progresses the more covered in blood the title card gets which is a clever metaphor for things getting worse in the world of Invincible. 

CAST

The cast is as big as it is brilliant. Every time you meet a new character I found myself checking the info page on Prime Video because I recognised their voice.

Everyone does a great job in this show so it would be unfair to single anyone out and just by listing the names people will see the magnitude of the voice talent on show.

Invincible stars Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Zachary Quinto (Heroes), Khary Payton (The Walking Dead) Seth Rogen (This is the End), Gillian Jacobs (Community), Andrew Rannells (Black Monday, Girls), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Walton Goggins (Justified), Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Mae Whitman (Good Girls), Chris Diamantopoulos (Silicon Valley), Melise (The Flash), Kevin Michael 

Richardson (The Simpsons), Grey Griffin (Avengers Assemble), Max Burkholder (Imaginary Order), Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption), Fred Tadasciore (Team America: World Police), Mahershala Ali (True Detective), Ross Marquand (Avengers Endgame), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Ezra Miller (Justice League), Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek Discovery), Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Invincible is a very enjoyable show packed full of humour, action, violence and heart. Animation is a way of producing scenes that would be either very expensive or very difficult to do in live action and this is what makes Invincible stand out. Dazzling and high flying action sequences on Earth and in Space create a spectacular display of heroics while the incredible voice cast bring grounded and real emotions to the characters.

I watched this via advance screener episodes issued by Prime Video and received no incentive to review this series. All images and art work are courtesy of Prime Video and their respective owners.

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