(W/ ZERO SPOILERS)
ONE SEASON IN
INVINCIBLE (2021) Season 1, Episode 1 - 10
Invincible wrapped its first season with one of the strongest finales I’ve seen. It gave us the answers we craved, recontextualized everything before it to add rewatchability, created a new status quo, and gave us a glimpse of what’s to come. It also didn’t shy away from the violence or the dramatic beats, but instead pushed them further to tell their story in the most effective way possible.
But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
What is Invincible? Essentially, it’s an adult animated superhero show following the tale of seventeen year old Mark Grayson, whose dad is Omniman, the world’s greatest superhero. Once Mark finally develops his powers, he tries to become a hero like his dad but discovers the origin of his powers may not be as heroic as he thought. For more spoiler-free thoughts on the earlier parts of the season, you can read my review of the first three episodes HERE!
Ever since those first three episodes, Invincible has brought me nothing but joy. I’m sorry, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, you have your moments, but Invincible? *chef kiss*
The voice performances were stupendous throughout the season, with Steven Yuen really nailing the role of Mark Grayson and the inflecting on the experiences the character goes through. You can feel the emotion in his voice, from shock to betrayal to witty banter, and the supporting cast of J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, and many others elevate the series to great heights. Even when the animation may not have been the best due to budget and time restraints, the writing and performances kept me glued to my screen.
And that finale? Hoo boy.
The showrunners made a smart move by having season-long arcs that tie everything up without feeling like a cliffhanger. If this show never got renewed for another season, we would at least have our questions answered and feel the potential the series had. But, alas, Invincible has been renewed for a second and third season.
A tragedy, I know. It should be renewed for more. (Didn’t Young Sheldon get renewed for three seasons? I had no idea people watched that.)
Invincible had me emotionally engaged for all eight hour-long episodes more than most shows do. I felt for the characters, rooting for the heroes and Mark, and my jaw dropped at the surprising moments. And that’s with reading the comic beforehand.
As I said in my previous review linked above, the show is not a 1:1 adaptation and, as fun as that still would have been, the amount of changes and remixing the show has done to make it work better for its format are welcomed as they still maintain the spirit of the source material. It’s still a superhero story about using powers to help people, not just fight a villain, and has the fun of superhero stories despite its darker moments.
If you love the Saturday morning fun of superhero shows but always felt a bit iffy when they held back to maintain its censorship, this is the show for you. Now that the MCU has finished their big story with Thanos and the DCEU has a proper Justice League film, I don’t believe the timing for Invincible could have been better now that mainstream audiences know the superhero tropes and let Invincible subvert them for powerful storytelling. It has its homages to the superhero moments we know and love, but twists them to shock the characters and us in meaningful ways.
Like that subway scene from Spider-Man 2. If you know, you know. [wink]
If you’re interested in my spoiler-free thoughts on the comic, you can listen to my half-hour podcast Committed Critics right HERE!
Or, if you’ve already read the comic or want to spoil things for yourself, we also have a spoiler-filled episode HERE!