Invincible – Season 1 (2021)
Small start and big finish
Mark Grayson is the only child to Nolan and Debbie Grayson. The three appear to live the typical suburban lifestyle but they share a very big secret: Nolan is actually the world’s most powerful superhero, Omni-Man. Just after his seventeenth birthday, Mark discovers he has inherited his father’s powers. Mark learns of his Viltrumite heritage and trains with his father to become a superhero known as…Invincible.
I hadn’t heard of the Invincible comics before the show. Instead, I was introduced to the entire franchise by Grace Randolph’s early reviews of the show. I eventually want to read the comics but after the end of a very solid first season, I think I like not knowing what comes next.
What I liked
Invincible takes an interesting spin on the superhero genre. For the most part, the episodes have a Spider-Man (Peter Parker, not Miles Morales) vibe to them. Mark spends a lot of his time trying to keep his superhero secret while living a normal teenage life. But where the show differs from Marvel’s webslinger is that Mark is also keeping his father’s secret. And that father-son relationship is at the heart of the story. The mysteries of Mark’s Viltrumite heritage and Nolan’s solo efforts as a superhero on Earth are slowly revealed throughout Season 1.
Big-name voice actors shouldn’t be a thing. Good voice work should really stand on its own and lift the animation. However, Invincible has a hell of a cast – and their big names are hard to ignore. J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh and Steven Yeun do a great job voicing the Grayson family. Recurring voices include Andrew Rannells, Walton Goggins, Chris Diamontopoulos, Zachary Quinto, Zazie Beetz, Clancy Brown and Mark Hamill. Guest voices include Seth Rogen, Jon Hamm, Mahershala Ali, Djimon Hounsou, Ezra Miller and Jonathan Groff. That’s a hell of a cast!
What I didn’t like
The animation was very hit-or-miss for me. In fact, it wasn’t until the last episode of the Season that I was able to appreciate the choice of animation style. For the most part, I felt that Invincible was lacking because of how things were drawn and the way characters came across. It often felt like there was a disconnect between the animators and the voice actors.
Another issue I had with Invincible was that the show mostly saved all its goodies for the very last episode. It was a very slow build to a big finale. And don’t get me wrong, the finale is in fact, very big. But there should have been more of a lead-up to the events of episode 8. In hindsight, episodes 1-7 feel like filler to the real show that takes place in the last episode.
Invincible has been renewed for two more Seasons. If you haven’t watched it yet, it might be worth your time. By the end of Season 1, you’ll be very interested in finding out more. With all the superhero material out there, you’d think that there wouldn’t more to get invested in. But this one stands out from the pack.
Source: Amazon Studios (2021)