Invincible #106 is a personal issue focusing on Invincible’s family learning a rather large secret while simultaneously following Battle Beast in battle. Written by creator Robert Kirkman, with longtime collaborators Ryan Ottley on pencils, Cliff Rathburn on inks and John Rauch on colors, we get a nice contrast between the big fight scenes and the intimate moments in Mark’s life.
This issue is bookended with sections dedicated to Battle Beast. Kirkman has written a pretty one-note character here, but hit that note well he does. Also, it never gets old seeing Battle Beast decapitate a foe using a mace. This issue tells the story of Invincible’s family all gathered on their moon base and the peaceful evening they are having. At the mention of a life changing event between Invincible and Atom Eve, it leads to Invincible and Omni-Man arm wrestling to see who is strongest. There are also a few choice scenes with Doc Seismic that start off funny, which I thought was a good departure from the main storyline from Kirkman, but they quickly turn dark.
The combination of Ottley and Rathburn on pencils and inks, respectively, are great with the amount of detail they show and excel in facial expressions. One page has ten panels of facial close ups ranging from happiness to anger, and each one stands on its own. Rauch's coloring is concise and clean, and the brutal scenes featuring Battle Beast are appropriately blood red.
There are numerous large panels throughout the issue which, while artistically gorgeous, from a writing standpoint, seem to shorten the story as you’re merely reading a few lines each page. However, I did enjoy the double splash of Invincible and Omni-Man intensely arm wrestling while Mark’s Mom and Atom Eve are carefree in the background. The final shot of Battle Beast with a shit-eating grin on his face is great too as he’s told who his next target will be.
Overall, this is a pretty slow issue with not much advancing of the plot, except for right at the end, meaning it would be a decent spot for a new reader to jump into, but beware, for the reveal of Battle Beast’s next target implies that Invincible is ramping up to another thrilling fight!
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