After nearly two decades of Marvel movies, we’re starting to see superhero stories dissected and get the attention they deserve. Prime Video seems to be at the center of this shift, with live-action series like The Boys and Gen V and animated series like Invincible offering sophisticated deconstructions of the genre. In addition to this commentary, Undefeated Season 1 brought us a star-studded cast and some of the most brutal violence ever brought to life in mainstream animation. The season ended with protagonist Mark Grayson battling his father, Nolan/Omni-Man, to protect Earth from a Viltrumite invasion. The first four episodes of Invincible Season 2 begin after that chaotic race.
Once the protector of Earth, Omni-Man revealed himself to be the agent of an alien race called the Viltrumites, forcing Mark to choose between his father and protecting Earth. After a chaotic battle ended in a stalemate, Omni-Man left his son Mark and wife Debbie behind as he took off into space to finish Season 1.
During episode 1 of season 2, which consists of four episodes, we spend some amazing time with Mark’s mom, Debbie. We see him grieving alone in his home, we see him trying to deny the damage and return to his job as a real estate agent, and we see him as he attends a support group for We will see the wives of superheroes. He is allowed to be alone, to just feel his feelings, whether those feelings manifest as drinking too much wine or slamming a loose cabinet door to shatter the dishes inside. On the surface, Invincible is a show about a half-alien superhero who fights the most brutal villains out there, so these moments of solitude are especially unexpected and devastating.
Season 2 manages to spend time with other characters as well, making sure that this isn’t just a brutal death march through Mark’s life. We’re left with Atom Eve, who’s still struggling with what it means to be a superhero and the line between helping people and interfering with trained professionals — unlike all the times we’ve seen Superman just laser a steel beam into him. he does. Place and call it good. At the same time, he must contend with a super-being that can literally assemble anything he wants from pure atoms, while his father—who prides himself on being the family breadwinner—sees his power as a fraud on life. A miraculous gift
Each character the show focuses on has a compelling story line that, even if it’s relatively short, gives us another perspective on Mark’s world. Alan the alien tells us about his people and the interspecies alliance against the Wiltromite monarchy. A new character, Angstrom Levy, introduces us to the Invincible multiverse—because everyone has a multiverse these days—and shows us just how unlikely Mark is to be a hero.
Invincible is, at its core, a story about what it’s like to be a superhero, warts and all. Spending time with Eve, Alan, and the Guardians of the Globe superhero team are all important to figuring out Mark’s place in the universe and exploring the idea of what it means to be a superhero from other angles. My heart broke for Eve when she tried to help people in need, but it went wrong and her father rubbed her face in her failure. Meanwhile, Allen’s story starts off as fun thanks to Seth Rogen’s voice acting. However, it is a startling reminder that danger lurks around every corner. Guardians of the Globe has its own set of challenges, but more than anything else it serves as a buffer for all the difficult emotions the other characters bring up. This is largely due to Jason Mantzoukas’ character Rex Splode, although we do get a new character named Shape Smith, voiced by Ben Schwartz, who brings his own humor. Both of these actors are so naturally funny that it’s hard not to soften the scenes they appear in.
However, the main story about Mark remains. He is a very powerful and almost unkillable being, but he carries with him the guilt of his father’s true intentions and an unimaginable burden. Whether he’s dealing with the government after his latest feat, or abandoning his friends on a trip light years away from Earth so his mother doesn’t find out, Mark doesn’t do it. Get the luxury of easy choice.
This is especially true in the back half of the four episodes, when Mark ends up far from home and in an unimaginably difficult situation. As a superhero, he has to deal with the responsibility of being powerful, the attention and expectations he receives as a result, the effects it has on his family and friends, and how his intervention or lack of intervention can completely change people’s lives. People he’s never even met I’m being vague here because these are some of the major character moments for Mark, and sketching out the details takes away big elements of this part of the storyline. Suffice it to say, though, that episode four leaves us on an emotional cliffhanger of sorts. It’s not a matter of what’s going to happen, but how Mark handles it.
After these first episodes, it seems that Impossible might be a better name than Invincible. As such, I can see the link between Invincible and Robert Kirkman’s story-builder, The Walking Dead. Both stories are willing to put their characters in impossible situations with real consequences. Superhero stories are often divorced from believable stakes, but Invincible never lets you get away from the hearts of the characters or how the events of the story affect them.
And maybe that’s the point of the name — it’s ironic. Yes, a mark may be physically durable, but it’s vulnerable in the dozens of other ways we’ve mentioned above. We’ve been trained by pop culture to see them as a powerful fantasy and a gift, but in Invincible they’re just as likely to be a curse. Invincible works because it never lets us forget that donning a superhero costume is a decision Mark has to make over and over again. Mark is one of the few superheroes who understands the pain and burden of doing what they do as well as Peter Parker, which makes him one of the most fascinating superheroes on TV right now.