The year 2023 was not great for superhero shows and movies, but Amazon Prime Video had the nearly perfect antidote to superhero fatigue: Invincible. The superhero animated series — based on the comic book by The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman and artists Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley — returned for its second season late last year. And despite Prime Video’s decision to split the season into two parts and withhold the four remaining episodes until later this year, Invincible season 2 has already put Marvel shows and DC shows to shame with a clinic on how to make a great comic book series. Keep reading as we explain why Invincible is the best superhero show on TV.
Back in the early part of this century, shows like Smallville couldn’t run away fast enough from traditional comic book costumes. Even the modern shows and movies seem a little embarrassed by it all. Invincible bucks that trend with almost all of the colorful, goofy, and downright bizarre characters from the comic while keeping their costumes as close to the source material as possible. That’s especially true for the show’s leading character, Mark Grayson/Invincible (Steven Yeun). Thanks to the series’ animation style, it really does look like a comic book that’s come to life.
If the PG-13 DC and Marvel superhero films feel like they’ve been holding back, it’s because they are. The vast majority of corporate comics don’t veer into mature territory. Invincible, and the show that it spawned, doesn’t have that problem. The animated choreography (or storyboarding) of this Amazon Prime Video show’s action sequences has been incredible, and the fights have been so brutal that even UFC fighters might wince at the hits and the physical toll they take on both the heroes and the villains.
One of the most important things that some superhero films and TV shows forget is that the heroes are people, too. They shouldn’t be unfeeling, one-dimensional characters, and neither should their supporting cast. Through the first half of the second season, Mark and his mother, Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh), have been emotionally reeling from the revelation that Mark’s dad and Debbie’s husband, Nolan/Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), was sent to Earth to conquer it. After bottling up her reaction to this betrayal, Debbie broke down in the following scene.
Mark, of course, also has extremely conflicted feelings about his father. But Debbie’s arc is particularly relatable because she has no powers in the superhero realm. She has to deal with all of this and her obvious empty nest syndrome after Mark moves out to go to college. Real life is messy, too, and it’s refreshing to see that reflected in the show.
The fourth episode of season 2 brought Mark out to a distant planet where he was reunited with his dad for an attempted reconciliation before they were both attacked by three Viltrumites, who were even more vicious than Omni-Man. By sparing his son’s life in season 1, Omni-Man turned his back on the Viltrum Empire, and then he was subsequently marked for death.
Despite still having some very serious issues with his dad for what he did, Mark fought side by side with his father against a far greater evil … and they were both soundly defeated. In a great cliffhanger ending, the Viltrumite army arrived to take Omni-Man away for execution, but not before naming Mark his replacement on Earth. That came with a warning as well: If Mark doesn’t get Earth ready for the Viltrumite invasion, then they will send someone far less merciful to handle the job.
Invincible season 2 will continue later this year, and we can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.
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