One of the major issues I have with a lot of comic book adaptations — even the good ones is that they try and reinvent a pretty amazing wheel that doesn’t need tinkering. That’s not the case with Invincible, a series that early on proves incredibly faithful to Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and artists Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley’s original vision.
Amazon provided the first three episodes of its Invincible TV series for review, but assuming there’s no major deviation, Invincible might be the most faithful from comic to TV adaptation ever.
That was an incredibly savvy move as Invincible was one of the most entertaining and fun comic book series in the last two decades.
It didn’t need any smoothing out of its rough edges or fixing. If the TV series stays as faithful to the comic there’s no reason it couldn’t become one of the biggest comic book shows of this generation.
Kirkman played with a number of traditional comic book tropes in introducing readers to the world of Mark Grayson, a typical high schooler who’s father, Nolan, is Omni-Man — the most powerful superhero on Earth. Both Mark and Nolan are highly anticipating the moment when Mark’s powers finally kick in.
When they do, Mark immediately wants in on the family business just as the world around him irrevocably changes…for the deadlier. I won’t spoil anything, but if you’re familiar with the comic, the show’s translation doesn’t disappoint.
It’s not hard to spot Kirkman’s inspiration for characters with barely disguised homages to the Justice League and Teen Titans. Part of the fun of Invincible is how amazingly fleshed out its superhero universe becomes as it progresses.
Invincible boasts a stellar voice cast led by Steven Yeun as Mark, J.K. Simmons as Nolan and Sandra Oh as Debbie Grayson. Other cast members include Zazie Beetz, Walter Goggins, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Michael Richardson, Khary Payton, Jason Mantzoukas and Mark Hamill.
What’s really cool about the cast is they all fit exactly how I would imagine how they would sound.
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The tone of the characters is spot on as well with supporting characters not being slighted simply because they lack powers. Mark is in high school after all so he’s got to deal with some of those typical elements. A strength of the show is Mark’s relationship with his mother, which actually takes into account how her son becoming a superhero would affect her.
Just as impressive is the character design and animation, which was styled to resemble Ottley and Walker’s art style. This provides an additional layer of comic book authenticity.
Like the source material, Invincible is incredibly violent. Emphasis on the incredibly violent. Heads explode, eyes pop out, intestines plop to the floor and that’s just the basic stuff. The gore clashes with the series’ overall bright and colorful world. Invincible wouldn’t work nearly as effectively if it had a dreary, bleak and washed out color palette.
These initial three episodes are a tremendous introduction to the world of Invincible and if the rest of the season stays just as true to the source material, this should be a series that should have a lengthy and memorable run.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios
Catch up on the comic book inspiration with the Invincible Ultimate Collection Vol. 1 on Amazon.