Recently, the market for superhero television shows and movies has been booming. Between Marvel’s release of “WandaVision,” Disney +’s unveiling of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and HBO Max’s claim over the DC Cinematic Universe, other streaming services have been in search of original content to keep up. Back in 2019, Amazon Prime struck gold with “The Boys,” a brilliant and captivating series that proved superheroes could exist outside of the Big 2 and could also target adult audiences. This discovery has thus led to the release of Amazon’s jaw-dropping new adult animated superhero series “Invincible.”
The show premiered on Prime Video Mar. 26 and was instantly met with positive feedback outside the general comic fanbase. Based on the 2003 comic series and character created by original “The Walking Dead” author Robert Kirkman, the story follows teenager Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) as his superpowers develop due to his alien lineage and Viltrumite blood. Taking after his father, Omni-Man (J. K. Simmons), Mark quickly gains flight, super strength and impenetrable skin. However, fighting off refreshingly original supervillains and refined, thought-out alien invasions are only half of Mark’s problems, as he dons the mantle of new, self-named hero Invincible.
Through Mark Grayson, Kirkman produces a fully three dimensional character not always found in cartoons or superhero shows. Constantly worrying about filling his father’s shoes and saving the world, Invincible struggles to balance his hero and teenage lives. While this may sound stereotypical of any teenage Spiderman replacement, Kirkman’s dark twists and betrayals keep it very fresh and dramatically shocking. In fact, this is true for the series as a whole. Omni-Man, for example, is a classic Superman figure who easily proves to be the most powerful superhero on Earth. However, in doing so, he also proves to not be as mentally stable, heroic or fatherly as he seems.
“Invincible” is dark, bloody and bingeable. The show fills the lives of superheroes with actual risk, so be warned! Despite the series’ name, nobody has proven invincible yet. Superhuman fragility is actually exposed, as characters are rapidly crushed like bugs, with no lack of gore, by other, stronger super-powered beings. Kirkman’s universe is vast and expansive, introducing us to new powers and faces each episode. Similarly, the cast is huge, featuring over 30 famous voices including everyone from Seth Rogen to Mark Hamill to Mahershala Ali, along with many cameos from “Walking Dead” cast members. Additionally, the animation is sharp and expressive, and a key part in creating the gruesome, violent reality humans would suffer if superheroes were really around. If “The Boys” brought this reality to the table, Kirkman’s “Invincible” mastered it, and Amazon will continue keeping pace with the other superhero giants of the cinematic and streaming world.
“Invincible” is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
By Erik Mathews