Kirkman's cast in Invincible is so large at this point, with equal time given to inhabitants of other planets, that we can almost literally range all over the galaxy and find a familiar face to zoom in on. This week it's Mark's mom and dad, heading back to Talescria (the central base of the planetary coalition that opposes the Viltrumites), both to report and to rendezvous with a fully recovered Oliver (new jaw and all).
It should be a very happy time. The couple spends the space trip fornicating, much to the crew's chagrin. Meanwhile, Allen and Telia have a spat because they can't get it on as much as she wants, while Oliver is staying with them. This results in Allen saying the sci-fi equivalent of "yes, those jeans make you look fat," which is the first of many unpleasant steps he takes.
Especially when he finds out what's really gone on with the Viltrumites on Earth from Nolan. Nolan is sort of a tool, a traitor to his fellow Viltrumites because of his love for his human breeding partner, but consequently someone who only thinks with his emotions, seldom reasoning out how to be diplomatic or even generous about his decisions. He's not been much help for Oliver, and Mark is usually better off when he ignores him completely.
While it's not completely believable that every leader in the known universe is a super-strong muscular male with a mostly sympathetic female (of one species or another) on his arm and in his bed, such a stereotypical tough guy setup does allow Kirkman to create a parallel of empathy between the Great Allen and Telia and Nolan and Deborah (and Mark and Eve, whom we've seen have many bedtime tête-à-têtes), just in time to break it forcibly in the cliffhanger. While not as interesting as Mark's story on Earth, check-ins with the supporting players like these are important because of the long-term plot implications. And Cory Walker's version of space opera is exuberant, brightly lit and funny, despite the dark note on which we end.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.