Review: Invincible #109
Invincible just doesn’t know how to be consistent anymore. We’ve been on a rollercoaster of quality since #100, and that rollercoaster seems to be exiting a hill with issue #109.
Mark Grayson has done quite a bit of universe hopping throughout Invincible with most of it benefiting the overall story. This story does not benefit the overall story in any way. It’s a filler issue. Robert Kirkman uses the multiple time jumps again in a alternate universe story to the point where it breaks the issue. There is not weight given to these massive leaps in time. The story works just as well if it took place within a day or in a week. Mark healing from his fight with the Viltrumites and the centuries long adventure for Monster Girl and Robot needed time jumps for the story to work on an emotional level. It made the triumphs and tragedies greater knowing how long they had been fighting for them. But in #109, Mark just builds a machine that gets him home without any difficulty. What makes me bang my head against a desk is that Mark will arrive back on his Earth with little to no time having gone by, making this issue pointless.
But this is Invincible and the characters are what keep you coming back for more each month. Kirkman gives alternate Robot and Mauler enough differences that this universe doesn’t feel like a cheap knock off of the main universe. Their personalities have striking differences, and those differences are explained well. Mark’s worry about becoming an evil bastard is explored nicely in #109, and Mark’s determination to be a better hero has some weight too it. Mark is struggling with adulthood and Kirkman has been pacing that character beat perfectly. Kirkman forgoes the big speech about how he needs to get better and instead let’s Mark sit on his thoughts for a bit, contemplating how he can do this without a grand gesture. And as an upcoming father, Mark will need to do more things like this. Kirkman has always had a great touch on bringing up past storylines of Invincible in a way that feels organic while acknowledging its history. Robot’s original body (which we haven’t seen since the first couple of years of Invincible) is a great addition that pleases old fans while not alienating newer fans.
While the writing of Invincible has been inconsistent, the artwork has been as strong as ever. Ryan Ottley’s pencils are expressive, dynamic, and flow like a movie. Mark’s hair growing slowly throughout the time jumps ended up being necessary since the dialogue doesn’t make the jumps feel earned. During the second read through, I noticed the little differences that Ottley added to Mark’s hair job. You can tell it seems rushed as the Mohawk isn’t as perfect as his evil counterpart’s. I feel like a broken record at the end of each Invincible review, as all I do is just reiterate how great Ottley’s is on pencils.
Invincible #109 gets 3/5.
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