In the last few years, there’s been a lot of noise created regarding Amazon and its bid to create original shows to stream on Prime. I had decided that I would get to some of them eventually, but when a new cartoon series, ‘Invincible’, started, the buzz was too big to ignore. Based on a comic book series by Image comics, the TV series has already been renewed for another two seasons. Given the number of people that messaged me asking if I’d seen it, I catapulted it to the top of my to-watch list!
Season 1 of Invincible introduces us to Mark Grayson, a young man who seemingly lives a normal life, except for one thing; his father is Omni-Man, the single most powerful hero ever. Born on a planet named Viltrum, Omni-man, aka Nolan Grayson, tells his son that he will gain powers one day. Mark waits impatiently but when he finally wakes up one day with super-strength, endurance and flight, he’s ecstatic. Nolan begins to train him, and he starts fighting crime and making new friends in the form of Atom Eve and the rest of Teen Team. However, just as this adventure is starting, the world is shocked when the Guardians of the Globe, the top team of superheroes in this world are found murdered. Suddenly there is a gap to be filled to protect Earth and Mark finds himself wondering if he should be one of such heroes to do it. At the same time, he finds his love life going the right way when Amber Bennett, a girl at Mark’s high school begins to show an interest in him. As he sets off on these two new journeys, he needs a superhero name and very casually comes up with Invincible. He begins doing missions for the Government and the Global Defence Agency, a secret organization tasked with coordinating the heroes of the world to where they need to be. But something is amiss, and Mark finds himself caught up in a number of situations, some which end well and some which end badly. In the end, there are only two questions that need to be answered. Just who killed the Guardians of the Globe and will Invincible be able to step up to protect his planet from all the threats it faces?
As I mentioned before, a lot of people had recommended this show to me, and even my younger brother, who is not particularly into this genre of TV and film thought it was a good watch. I realised that I couldn’t delay and I have to say, I was not disappointed at all. This show was pretty much full-on from the very first episode. There are certainly episodes where the pace is a little slower but for the most part, there are intriguing twists and turns that keep the viewer hooked. It was clear that certain elements of the show were ‘borrowed’ from other comic book lore; The Guardians of the Globe being almost identical to the Justice League and Teen Team being an equivalent to the Teen Titans. However, the writers are clear to show what makes this world distinct from others that we’ve seen before. Invincible is a hero who lives in a world where the heroes don’t always win, and from that perspective, there is a lot of gore and death in the show. Bar the blood, I really enjoyed this show and I’m glad that there’s more of it coming!
The voice cast of the show is fairly impressive. J.K. Simmons plays the indomitable Omni-Man and Steven Yeun plays our titular character. I thought both did an excellent job of voicing the characters, especially Simmons. He’s a very talented actor, but even when voicing a cartoon character he still somehow brings a breadth through his voice. Very good. In fact, if you go on IMDB and check out the remaining actors in the cast, the show boasts an incredible number of high-end actors. Even the cameos. Jon Hamm, Sandra Oh, Ezra Miller, Mahershala Ali, Zazie Beetz. Like I knew Jeff Bezos was rich, but even this was a lot. Perhaps I’m unaware of just who is in these cartoon series. The difficulty in animated programmes and films is that acting can’t be judged in isolation, because it is inexorably linked to the animation itself.
In terms of the animation, I thought it was actually quite basic. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I literally mean that it was similar to other comic-based TV shows such as Young Justice or Justice League. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the same people working on the shows. That would explain why the voice cast had so many familiar names. As I mentioned before, the one difference was the fact that there was a lot of gore and blood and I have to say the animators did not hold back in showing that. There were a few scenes where I had to stop myself from looking because I don’t particularly like scenes with blood in it. Odd coming from a doctor, I know. The music was okay, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I remembered any of it. The show also doesn’t have a memorable theme song either!
Overall, I think there was a reason that this show did so well. Invincible as a character is someone we can all relate to, in that we’re all just kids waiting for the moment that our ‘superpowers’ kick in. The writing was good, and despite the lack of pace in some episodes, collectively it weaves an intricate story that relies on tension and some of the craziest twists and turns I’ve ever seen. I’m looking forward to the future of this show big time!
Story Arc: 16.5/20
Voice Acting: 13/20
Integral vs filler episode: 14.5/20