Robert Kirkman’s excellent series just keeps getting better with this next installment, though in this volume the story takes a dark, gory turn that guarantees this title a place in the teen collection. Mark Grayson continues to grow up a superhero’s son–trading a social life (and a good night’s sleep) for saving the world, again, a bit too often for his taste. Happily, he’s inherited his father’s super speed and impeccable timing, so he’s learning to balance it all. The tongue-in-cheek references continue in this title, most notably in the thinly veiled superhero team that just happen to resemble as certain Justice League we all know. The light moments of humor also keep the story framed in a teenage state of mind–the sequence of Mark catching up on his sleep over the weekend is priceless. Cory Walker’s art continues to hit just the right note of superhero bulk softened by few shadows and quirky lines perfectly capturing expressions. In this volume, however, the story arc takes a surprising turn–a string of gruesome murders of high-ranking superheroes show the world to be a fragile and out of control place. In Mark’s daily life, violence starts overshadowing the buzz of being a superhero. On top of that, Mark’s father is far from blameless in the violence, though only the reader is privy to this knowledge. The tension between the picture of a man who seemed to be the perfect dad and the world’s hero suddenly revealed to be a callous brute who’s behaving worse than an archvillain is startling. This twist shows that despite this world’s bright palette, the darkness is not far beneath the surface. The finish of this collection is not really an end–just a cliffhanger that turns the world upside down and intimates more upheaval to come. Although readers may be surprised by the shadows covering this volume, the telling is by no means clunky or sensational–Kirkman is telling a traditional story with a flair for understanding how to keep the ordinary in extraordinary experiences, whether it be fighting alien conquerors or confronting dangerous family secrets.
Invincible, vol. 2: Eight is Enough
by Robert Kirkman
art by Cory Walker, Bill Crabtree, Ryan Ottley, Terry Stevens, Matt Roberts, Tony Moore, Mark Englert, Erik Larsen, Dave Johnson, Cliff Rathburn