Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Ryan Ottley (p/i), Bill Crabtree (colours)
Publisher: Image Comics
In this belated tie-in to last year's Marvel Team-Up #14, Robert Kirkman crafts an eerie and tense scenario for our hero by putting him up against a villain who is threatening his family but to whom he can't get close enough to stop. All of Invincible's powers are useless in this situation and he can't help but feel lost and afraid, emotions we can all relate to as we've all been in helpless situations (although hopefully with less at stake!). This is Kirkman's great strength as a writer: he knows how to put together fun and exciting superhero stories full of the little bits and pieces that make the genre so enjoyable (like talking dinosaurs, or villains who can shunt their enemies into another dimension with a single thought), while at the same time giving the characters within realistic human personalities that a reader can relate to, and thus more easily immerse themselves in the fiction.
Yet again the art team excels, although there are no impressive fortyish-panel spreads this issue. Ryan Ottley’s work always looks like the artist had great fun drawing it, and the dimension-hopping plot gives him a variety of wild and wonderful things to illustrate, as well as quieter, more pensive scenes, all of which he handles with aplomb. Bill Crabtree also deserves considerable credit for making the story work as well as it does, with some insightful colouring choices, most notably the dark tones used for the scenes between Invincible and his nemesis, which give those pages the look of a movie thriller and up the tension subtly but effectively. Every month, just as I look at the solicitations and begin to believe that today's superhero comics are becoming irredeemably shite, Invincible reminds me of all of the things I love about the genre. You can keep your Civil Wars, Infinite Crises and Onslaught Reborns; they can’t possibly compete with this spot-on celebration of the greatness of superhero comics.
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