In this era of violent superhero tales, in which we’re led to question the nature and heroics of superheroes themselves, I every once in a while long for a story where the good guys are good (though still human) and the heroism is clear, without mixed motives or shady dealings. Invincible is just such a breath of fresh air. Not a terribly new idea — the son of a superhero begins learning his own powers and place in the world — the whole book is nonetheless wonderfully refreshing. It answers some of those long-standing questions about the pedestrian aspect of superheros. What do you do when you return from an alternate dimesion where time flowed faster? You go have a shower and shave. Where do all those vibrant, skin-tight costumes come from? Why, the same tailor, naturally. How do teams form up? Well, you just go out there, do your superhero thing, and hope you meet up with a compatible group who just might give you a chance. Mark Grayson, the teenage son of one of the most powerful superheroes on the planet, has been waiting all his life for his inherited superpowers to kick in, and when they do, he’s right on board with the whole deal. There are some charming, light moments throughout the book, from Mark’s first flight with his dad to conversations with a certain pretty member of Mark’s new team, but the awareness of danger and consequence within the heroes’ roles keeps the book from being fluff or saccharine. Cory Walker and Bill Crabtree’s work on the art is equally lovely and uncluttered, filled with eloquent expressions and light, energetic tones. This title is great for almost all ages, and might make a nice addition to graphic novel collections for kids who are thirsting for superhero stories and who aren’t quite ready for Dark Knight Returns. Don’t let that keep you from getting it for teens, or adults, though — it’s all around good stuff.

Invincible, vol. 1: Family Matters
ISBN: 9781582407111
by Robert Kirkman
Art by Cory Walker and Bill Crabtree
Image Comics 2003

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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