Invincible premieres March 26 on Amazon Prime Video.
By Chris Flanagan
The ingredients are all there: Amazon, Robert Kirkman, R-rated comic book adaptation, exceptional voice talent, and an interesting premise. All of these elements come together to provide Amazon’s latest original animated program, Invincible. On paper, it has the makings of something truly special and it very well might grow to be that but in the episodes provided the show merely reaches levels of being just okay.
Invincible’s story centers around Mark Grayson, who seems a typical high school teenager but whose father is Omni-Man, the most powerful superhero on Earth. As his son, Mark is set to receive powers of his own and as they begin to manifest the story shifts towards his struggle of understanding the morality and responsibility of using them. Mixed into this is an evolving plot with a mysterious alien race that begins to invade the Earth and an ominous decision made by Mark’s father that seems to have a ripple effect throughout the season. As expected, the pressures of high school, relationships, and family dynamics all play their part in his daily decisions which is nothing out of the ordinary for this typical narrative, and yet, it does very little to rise above these tropes and truly make its mark on a genre that is well-explored.
The art style is solid and the writing is interesting enough offering several twists along the first three episodes, but where the show truly shines is with its voice cast. Bolstered by Steven Yeun as the titular character, the cast also features acting stalwarts such as JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Zachary Quinto, and several other cameos throughout all of whom offer good performances but collectively aren’t enough to elevate the show as a whole. For me, the best decision from the show is the name of Mark’s high school, Reginald Vel Johnson High after the famous 90s actor.
It’s difficult to get a complete sense of a show such as Invincible because of the limited episodes that were given and how they only seem to just scratch the surface of the deeper story beneath that this first season wants to explore. For that very reason, there might be a much better and more interesting show buried underneath what is currently presented and the conflict now shifts to its audience on whether they want to continue past the first three episodes. I cannot say with certainty that I will be among this group because while I appreciated moments from Invincible and I love that shows like this are being created there was just not enough intrigue to keep my attention. In the end, Invincible is simply okay and a lukewarm product is tough to celebrate. For some, it might be enough. For others, myself included, its effort is admirable but in a landscape where there is an overabundance of shows to be experienced Invincible left me wanting more.
I give Invincible a C+.