Invincible # 102 – Arthur’s Pick of the Week

Turning 100 a couple of months ago hasn’t slowed this book down… HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

The events of Invincible’s 100th issue felt huge. There was a change of status quo, some big news, and it even looked as if Mark had been killed on live tv (although he was later revealed to have been saved at the last minute and replaced with a decoy – a long story worth catching up on). But the revelations and repercussions in this book are somehow bigger, and feel more suited to an anniversary issue…

The Viltrumites relocation to Earth has been a threat waiting to boil over for a while, mainly because of the unstable and seemingly indestructable Grand Regent Thragg. Whilst the other Viltrumites have been living amongst humans and struggling with having feelings for their new partners (multiple partners in some cases), Thragg has remained distant and bitter, violent and cunning. Recently we’ve seen him have a run in with Dinosaurus that once again proved his durability and strength, and after being told some inconvenient news while Mark was dealing with the Scourge virus he effortlessly killed the scientist delivering the information without a second thought.

It’s that news that causes the conflict in this issue. Nolan – and therefore Mark – is a direct descendant of the Viltrumites’ previous Grand Regent. And Thragg isn’t going to give up his throne to anyone, least of all a traitor. Although Nolan isn’t interested in taking over from Thragg, a large portion of the book is taken up with their battle, a brutal fist fight in space illustrated as masterfully as ever by Ryan Ottley. Ottley’s beautiful art is a huge reason this book is so amazing, every page is full of detail and expression, and nobody else makes gore so much fun. Debiie’s inclusion in the scene lends a lot of urgency, and it’s a real concern to see her put in danger as these two powerhouses collide.

Meanwhile, Eve’s news from issue 100 leads to a natural next step from Mark, and it’s a feel-good moment that furthers the growth of this relationship and of Mark and Eve as characters. Knowing Kirkman’s writing, we should probably make the most of moments like these, because it won’t be long until something devastating comes along to take it away from us.

Invincible is without a doubt the best book Kirkman writes, and it deserves as much if not more than the attention garnered by its higher-profile sibling The Walking Dead.

Honourable Mention this week goes to Young Avengers #4

Almost every week a Marvel title features in these reviews, and I’ve been trying to avoid highlighting another Marvel book. But when they’re producing comics as good as Young Avengers it’s hard to ignore them…

Gillen and McKelvie are making Young Avengers fresh and exciting, and with their injection of soundtrack elements via Noh-Varr’s fascination with Earth music it’s also a lot of fun. There’s a fight/rescue scene in this issue illustrated with real ingenuity and wit, and when Noh-Varr introduces a song into the equation it really comes alive.

Loki’s addition to the cast also throws a doubt on one of the most endearing relationships in the Marvel universe. An intriguing question is raised about the reality of the situation, and the answer might not be what we (or Hulkling) will want to hear…

Despite the ever-growing number of books with “Avengers” in the title, Young Avengers feels very different and original, and if you’re not reading it you might want to consider taking a look…

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