Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters

3 months back into comics and i think i may have already found a favorite writer/author: Mr. Robert Kirkman. The Walking Dead and Invincible are two of my favorite titles right now hands down. I'm having trouble getting enough of either book, even though they are (in most ways) radically different. What's most interesting about it to me personally is that i am not typically a fan of zombie OR kid-gets-powers-and-suffers-related-growing-pains stories, and all of a sudden i'm a huge fan of both. I'm just starting out with both books, so all this gushing may be a bit preamature (i'm through Vol. 2 of The Walking Dead, and just Vol. 1 of Invincible), but i'm certainly impressed with what i've read/seen so far and can hardly wait to dig into the next volume of each. These Kirkman titles (plus The Goon, Conan, Powers, UY, etc.) are the "aren't you glad you got back in it" books for me so far.

But enough Kirkman stroking - let me pen a few thoughts about Family Matters:

Let me start by saying I've always been uber-skeptical of any superhero books outside of Marvel and/or DC. I started hearing about Invincible over at CBR as soon as i got back into comics, but never really thought to give it a chance until a few weeks ago. As a matter of fact, 15 years ago ALL i would read was Marvel or DC (mostly Marvel). I just don't remember there being much "small press" or indy stuff worth anything - but maybe that was just from a kid's point of view. Now it seems the first racks i head for are Dark Horse and Image, Marvel's almost my "filler", and i'm only reading one DC title at the moment (but looking for more).

Anyways that's a topic for another post, another day - back to Invincible: The writing AND the art (pencils and colors) are clean, crisp, and refreshing. It's hard to explain but i just get a good feeling when i'm reading this book. A comfortable feeling. The story has a much lighter feel to it than typical - a break from the brooding, "whoa is me" style that pervades these titles about super-powered teenagers coming into their own (there is definitely a place for that so don't get me wrong, just nice to have a change of pace). I love the fact that Mark's dad is really a super powered being from a utopian planet far, far away, and that Mark and his mom are so non-chalant about it when he's on the news fighting 10 story dragons, or off in an alternate dimension for weeks at a time - lends a kind of coolness to the story that i really appreciate.

Mark's powers finally begin to manifest (after some impatient waiting), and there's only a few pages of "trying them out" (which is a good thing IMO). Kirkman does a good job of showing us some of the things a teenager with new super-powers might have to deal with (misunderstanding best friends, new super-friends, crime fighting, his bs job, family, etc.) without sucumbing to the temptation to go overboard with it and/or drive these points into the ground. There are some great scenes when Mark's dad has the awkward, yet infamous "with great power comes great responsibility" talk w/ him (even though it's only a few panels, it's memorable), and when he takes him to his "special" tailor (who designs super hero costumes) to get outfitted. Mark finds out, by chance, that some of his classmates are also super-powered (including a super-hottie-soon-to-be-love-interest), and teams up with them - Invincible's first team-up - gotta love that. The first villian isn't really a super villain but a pretty good first "adventure"... i didn't mind it even if it was a bit corny/predictable having the pissed-off teacher seeking revenge yada, yada, yada. Mark's first adventure with his dad (beating back aliens from another dimension) was a nice touch too... I just love the relationship between these two so far (and yes i've been slightly spoiled by knowing a bit more about where this relationship will go in future volumes than i wish i did :)

Can't wait to get my hands on Vol. 2 or the HC (anyone know exactly which volumes that covers? is it just 1 and 2 or 1-3?). Since i have kind of a clue where Mark's relationship w/ his dad is headed - i'm pumped to find out the particulars.

And i gotta say it one more time - it's titles like this one (and writers like Kirkman) that have me excited to be back after 15 long years. I love the feeling of "damn i've been missing all this?".

PS one thing that does bother me is those horrible goggles Mark wears as part of his costume (before i knew what his powers were i figured he had some sort of insect thing going on). IMO Walker should ditch these for a standard eye sheild or mask or something, but what do i know?


30 June, 2005 09:37, Anonymous Dave Carter said...

What is the one DC book that you're reading? If it's not Gotham Central, you should add that to your list. It's the best thing that DC is publishing these days. There are a couple of trades collecting the early issues.

Also there's Alan Moore's Promethea which just finished a few months ago; it's collected into five volumes.

30 June, 2005 09:43, Blogger zilla said...

nice dave thanks. the one title i'm reading (even though it's a bit weird so far but i like the art) is loeb's superman/batman. i'll pick up the first gotham central trade too... what's "promethea" about?

30 June, 2005 15:05, Anonymous Dave Carter said...

Here's the description of Promethea of the the DC/Wildstorm site:

"Sophie Bangs was a just an ordinary college student in a weirdly futuristic New York when a simple assignment changed her life forever. While researching Promethea, a mythical warrior woman, Sophie receives a cryptic warning to cease her investigations. Ignoring the cautionary notice, she continues her studies and is almost killed by a shadowy creature when she learns the secret of Promethea. Surviving the encounter, Sophie soon finds herself transformed into Promethea, the living embodiment of the imagination. Her trials have only begun as she must master the secrets of her predecessors before she is destroyed by Promethea's ancient enemy."

The series goes on to explore metaphysics, metafiction, philosophy, and eschatology. Plus there's fantastic art by J. H. Williams III & Mick Grey.

30 June, 2005 15:25, Blogger zilla said...

yeah i read that description - definitely sounds interesting. i don't have much to get at the LCS today so maybe i'll head out later and see if they don't have the first trade... always looking for good stuff i missed (it's hard sorting through the "good" versus the "mainstream" when you've been out of action 15 years). thanks.


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel