It’s About Time
Episode 1 of Invincible begins with a security guard Steve, excitedly talking to his colleague about taking a few weeks off and visiting London. After a touching chat about his recovering son, the earth suddenly starts shaking as The Mauler Twins show up with large miniguns and a bad attitude.
They want to kill the President but have plans to do so by making everything a spectacle. Just before Steve meets an untimely demise, a whole group of heroes show up to stop the villains. These are the Guardians of the Globe and accompanying them is Omni-Man (aka Nolan Grayson), who leads the cavalry charge. The heroes help evacuate the area before focusing their attention on the twins. Together, they thwart the threat.
It turns out Nolan has a son called Mark. For all the worry about Mark’s powers failing to manifest, we don’t have to wait long before this becomes a reality. After school, Mark inexplicably throws a trash bag high into the sky. Nolan soon learns what his son has managed too and sets Mark up for training the following day.
Omni-Man, as we soon find out, is from the Planet Viltrum whose people relocate to various different planets to help lesser-species. Nolan happened upon Earth, where he’s now tasked with teaching Mark how to fly and land successfully. The latter unfortunately sees Mark crash-land in spectacular fashion, complete with a large crater.
It’s a tough day, one that eventually leads to Mark heading upstairs alone and silent. Desperate to prove himself, Mark heads out alone and takes down a foe called Titan. Unfortunately he also causes quite a bit of destruction too, prompting Nolan to show and take his son away. Specifically, to get a new super suit. The orange and yellow merch given isn’t quite what Mark expected but for now it’s a good start.
While Mark tries to come up with a name for himself, he also starts to doubt his own abilities. In the midst of more life lessons, Mark comes up with a new name for himself – Invincible.
As the episode closes, we receive a lovely montage of all these different Guardians and their struggles. Specifically, seeing them all called into action. These heroes are, of course, all a satirical take on the Justice League and Marvel players.
With all the heroes gathered together, the loveliness mentioned before soon disappears. Instead, it’s replaced by shock and utter horror. Omni-Man suddenly appears and begins attacking each of the Guardians. Red Rush is completely destroyed, with his skull smashed like a watermelon. Eventually a blood-soaked Omni-Man takes out all the Guardians single-handedly, leaving them in a bloody heap on the ground. As he looks out at the devastation, he too collapses.
The Episode Review
Wow, what a cast – and what a first episode! Going into this one, I’ll admit I know absolutely nothing about the source material but this animated series has absolutely everything one could ask for from a superhero show.
In a way, this feels like a blend of The Boys with more of the 90’s superhero shows like Spider-Man and X-Men. The result is a hand-drawn gem that brings the best aspects of superhero action together into one heady cocktail.
This origin-story for Invincible works well against the sudden reveal of Omni-Man turning against the Guardians. It’s a nice twist on the usual hero formula and works well to help show how powerful Omni-Man actually is. Seeing him take out all these heroes is a really shocking moment and one that immediately builds him up as a credible threat.
There are a lot of famous faces (see: voices) in this though and the series does an excellent job bringing them all together for this 45 minute opener. If this is a sign of thing to come, we could well be looking at one of the best shows of 2021. Still, it’s very early days yet so let’s wait and see what the rest of this show has in store for us.