In what tends to be a violent, beat-’em-up affair, Robert Kirkman takes a break from the usual Invincible routine and takes the time to get to know some of the other characters in the series’ latest issue, Invincible #92.
The book starts out with Invincible’s main man out of commission; Mark is in a world of hurt after events from the last issue, which has him in a hospital with a new arm. Rendering his main character pretty useless early on, Kirkman takes aim on focusing some of the relationships between his other characters. Mark’s replacement, Zandale, gets quite a bit of action (and without spoiling much, let me just say that the antagonists are hilarious) saving the day and dispatching the baddies with relative ease.
After a brief altercation we get to see some of the parallels between the two heroes’ lives, which is illustrated both through the dialogue and through the thematic placement of panels; we get to see how Mark is dealing with his injury and (spoilers) relying on others to help him live without powers. On the other hand, we get to see how a super hero life is making things difficult for Zandale, who is struggling to make things work with his girl and family.
However, the big focus here is on Rex and Monster Girl. The characters have always had a tumultuous relationship, but we’ve never really known just how deep and trouble their history actually is. This issue sheds tons of light on this, and is done wonderfully through a few well done flashbacks. The issue culminates with the big reveal of their relationship, and it’s one that shows that this conflict is one that is much more than has ever been hinted or implied.
With that said, the plot and writing was great in this issue. I could of used a bit more action, but trading it in for some very well done character development was pretty worth it in my opinion, especially when it leaves the door open for several characters to grow and handle conflict on even deeper levels in later issues. How is Mark going to handle life without powers? Will he continue to be the title’s main character? On the flip side, how does Zandale handle a life with powers? And finally, while we do know the extent of the rift between Rex and Monster Girl, we still don’t know what caused it. Sounds like a lot of juiciness to me.
And let’s not forget the art. Interestingly enough, the Rex and Monster Girl flashbacks are done by a different artist than the test of the book, which I found very unique and fun to look at. Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn rock the present day stuff, which is very sharp and very detailed. Colors are crisp and lines are very defined, which is pretty par for the course in the Invincible books. Cory Walker tackle the flashbacks, and his work, while perhaps not easily identifiable, is a bit different. Walker’s color pallet jumps out less than the present day stuff, and the lines just don’t look as sharp. Don’t mistake that as criticism though, as it looks great all the same and does the job very well. My only concern is that the quick shift in art may not be for everyone. I actually enjoyed it, though.
Invincible #92 was a lot of fun, mostly because it’s a little change of pace than what you’re probably used to with this title. While I wouldn’t call it slow, this issue takes a deep look into the lives of some of the books supporting characters and, with the way that he ended the book, it looks like Kirkman is going to experiment even more with their back stories in future installments. I just hope there’s a little bit more ass kicking the next time around.