The 10s gave way to the 20s, but the superhumans in colorful costumes still dominate the media space. And the more superheroics are around, the more attempts are made to reinvent, deconstruct, or at least joke about it. Especially in TV shows – they are more conducive to experimentation. Either the new “Guardians” will burn the seats of those who are familiar with the original comic only from the adaptation of Zach Snyder, then Marvel itself in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will timidly try to debunk its own myth about the sinless American hero. But the greatest success with the viewer is unambiguously enjoyed by “Boys” , which are skating rinks throughout modern pop culture.
Having found a gold mine, the Amazon Prime stream service decided not to be satisfied with what has already been achieved, and therefore filmed another cult postmodern comic strip of the 2000s – “Invincible” .
Mark Grayson is almost the most ordinary American teenager. He steams because of the grades, looks at a classmate, works part-time in a snack bar – everything is like everyone else’s. However, Mark has one secret: his dad is Omni-Man, Earth’s greatest hero. Twenty years ago, he arrived from the distant planet Viltrum to help humanity achieve a bright future, in the process fell in love with an earthly woman and started a family with her. And now, on the eve of coming of age, Mark finally shows superpowers. The guy himself is delighted, mom is also happy, albeit slightly worried, but dad begins to behave strangely. He seems to be preparing for something. Something that no one on Earth even suspects.
When talking about “Invincible”, one cannot ignore the original comic strip, even if the adaptation does not quote the original source to the last letter: it was written almost twenty years ago by Robert Kirkman, author of “The Walking Dead”… As in the case with the main zombie saga of the generation, he took the most hackneyed topic in mass culture and managed to refresh it without inventing, in fact, anything new. “Invincible” is such a synopsis of superheroics, a combination of the best that has happened to the genre in its entire history. Corey Walker’s bright, slightly angular drawing refers to the silver age of comics, when on every page there was an invasion of aliens, then a battle of high magicians. The action is richly sprinkled with blood, as was fashionable in the eighties and nineties, and the characters look like living people – this is already the spirit of the 2000s. The main character, Mark, at one moment reflects the attack of invaders from another dimension, and in the other he tries to make peace with the girl after another missed date. Moreover, equal attention was paid to both events, because for Grayson it is also important that“Spider-Man” , only twisted to the maximum. While Peter Parker tends to bash villains in animal costumes and tries not to upset Aunt May, Mark is dealing with global threats and the worst family crisis imaginable.
Omni-Man’s relationship with his son is one of the most intriguing aspects of the show.
In the comic, the latter aspect is initially set off with jokes and light-hearted side adventures, but the film adaptation puts it in the foreground, while at the same time accelerating the main plot twist. In the very first episode, Omni-Man, Mark’s father, cracks down on members of the local Justice League so brutally that the new “Mortal Kombat” seems like a Disney musical by comparison. Further, the whole intrigue is built around two questions: when will the truth come to light and will humanity be able to defeat an invincible killer?
Yes, we have before us another plot about the evil Superman, but presented from an unusual perspective. The superhero in “Invincible” is overgrown with elements of a family drama, thriller, and even a detective story. So the murder of the Earth Defenders is investigated by the demon Damien Darkblood – an obvious parody of Hellboy and Constantine, speaking in the loud voice of Clancy Brown. Step by step, the devil in a coat is getting closer to the truth, and Debbie Grayson, the wife of Omni-Man, gradually begins to suspect something was wrong. She, by the way, is given much more attention than in the comics, and this makes her inevitable tragedy more significant. In principle, the series takes the drama and horror of the situation to a completely different level compared to the original: the feeling of impending disaster lasts the entire season, and the finale proves that the premonition did not deceive.
Although Mark claims to be Invincible, few superhero shoots are as tough as he is.
It is the storyline of Omni-Man – dark, bloody, tense – that sets Invincible apart from similar series, because otherwise it is a fairly standard, albeit well-tailored, superhero show. Mark Grayson is looking for himself, mastering his superpowers, and also teaches a familiar lesson about great strength and great responsibility. The first flight, the first defeat, the first love – we have already seen all this more than once, however, the usual program in the series has been worked out skillfully. The characters are pleasant, the dialogues are lively, the jokes are mostly successful, and the action is spectacular and brutal, since the rating of 18+ allows it. True, the series can be blamed for the rare, but tangible drop in pace. The story also focuses on the new Defenders of the Earth, but the culmination of their storyline, which has been given a lot of time, turns out to be completely inexpressive.
In “Invincible” you can find a parody of almost every famous comic book hero
When it comes to technical execution, animation may not be to everyone’s taste. She is in “Invincible” plus or minus at the level of full-length DC cartoons, sometimes worse. Especially the three-dimensional city landscapes cut the eye – frames from “Spider-Man” 1994 immediately pop up in the memory. However, on those scenes that should give the viewer goosebumps, Amazon clearly did not skimp: There are few places where you can find such a detailed dismemberment.
But there can be no complaints about the voice acting at all. J.K. Simmons is so good at playing Omni Man that it’s worth watching the show in the original for him alone. The Walking Dead star Steven Yang and Sandra Oh from Killing Eve are doing great too, especially considering the emotional scenes they have to act out. Well, in the episodes, fans of English-language animation can also hear Kevin Michael Richardson and Mark Hamill in person.
“Invincible” is a rare example of an adaptation that not only surpasses the original source, but develops his ideas in a different, extremely successful direction. This is the flesh of the flesh of the comic by Robert Kirkman, but darker, more dramatic and in some ways even more integral. The series does not try to cover all the superheroics at once and pays more attention to the emotional torment of the characters, their relationships and development. If you are looking for trash and frenzy, as in “Boys”, then you couldn’t do without it, however, the degree of cynicism and black humor in “The Unstoppable” is much lower. After all, at its core, it’s still a story about a young man who just wants to make the world a better place.