On the doorstep of a new era, Invinicble must now face the immedite after effects of the Viltrumite War. Can he and those around him pick up the pieces of the life they left behind so long ago?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: Fco Plascencia
Color Assistant: Sheila Saldana
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sina Grace
Cover by Ryan Ottley and Fco Plascencia
The Virltrumite War finally comes to a close, but is Invincible ready for what awaits him when he finally comes home?
When it comes to the Superhero Genre, one of the things that cannot go unnoticed is the fact that its biggest draws were created from the 1940's to the 1960's. Now of course, one should realize that there are few characters in any medium that become enduring pop culture icons, so the fact that comics true Icons mostly reside in those 3 decades is not really that big of an issue in and of itself. It is when one realizes that the vast majority of Superhero books star characters from those 3 decades that said begins to hit home, especially when one realizes that the 1970's – 2000's the Big 2 produced only 2 heroes (Wolverine, Deadpool) that could sustain any type of ongoing based on their names alone. There are numerous issues that such an environment can produce, but the one issue that stands out for this reviewer is the fact that the current generation lacks virtually any heroes that were created along with them. The after affect of such an occurance, is the fact that the few that have been created all the more important, and if you had to pick one that shines above everyone else, it would have to be Robert Kirkman's Invincible.
As for what makes Invincible stand out, it's honestly not due to his powers, which by themselves make him little more than a Superman clone like many that have come before him. Inviniclble's biggest assets come from the writing that's allowed him to become more than just another Superhero. Along with the strong supporting cast, and years of 3rd dimensional character development, Invincible stories are equipped with something that is rarer than it should be in this genre (mostly due to where the output comes from), and that's the air that what happens in this book really matters. If nothing else, Robert Kirkman's willingness to not chain this Universe to set a Status Quo has given the readers a reason to get invested in what happens next, despite the unfortunate occurrence of delays that Invincible has seen the past year. It is those delays that make the question of whether the newly released Issue of Invincible (#78) was worth the wait the most important question of them all.
The importance of Invincible #78 is definitely of a multi-faceted nature that betrays the unassuming number that's on the cover. For starters, Invincible #78 is the long awaited conclusion of the Viltriumite War whose actual storyline has gone on for 8 Issues, which is definitely noteworthy on its own. The weight of this issue only gets heavier when you take into account that this Issue is meant to be a big part of the ultimate payoff for numerous story threads that were started years ago when Omni-Man (Invincible's Father) killed the first version of the Guardians of the Globe. The goal of this issue will be to make sure that the payoffs were worth waiting for, due to the delays that plagued this arc. Did the creative team make this homecoming worth the wait? They most definitely did.
Compared to other Issues in this Arc, Invincible #78 will not go down as a densely written issue, but that's not something that hinders this book at all, as the creative teams goes in with the full knowledge that how these moments are portrayed are much more important than a word count could ever be. This Issue begins on the heels of the stunning resolution to the end of the war itself, and goes on to show us how the principal characters in this arc handle coming home after being gone for a long time. What we're treated to is a series of reveals, character moments, and cliffhangers that are all very well written, that this reviewer had a tough time on figuring out which ones stand out. In the end, I have to give Robert Kirkman the biggest props for how he handled the reunions between Nolan (Omni Man) and his former wife Debbie, and the reunion between Mark (Invincible) and Eve (Atom Eve) as the writing for each was powerful and resonate enough to do its part to convey the right type of emotion that the book was going for. This Issue also did an excellent job in reinforcing the Creative Team's decision to end the war the way it did, as it helps to pave the wave for new storyline dilemmas that wouldn't be possible otherwise, especially the cliffhanger at the end that this reviewer can't wait to see come to a head, leaving very little doubt that Robert Kirkman made sure that this story will stay with the reader for a very long time.
For an Issue like this, art is also extremely important, as simply looking good is not enough to accomplish the mission statement. The art must also convey the emotions that the story calls for; otherwise the writer's words will miss the marks they are trying to make. In short, this is the issue where the writer and artist must truly be on point together, something that the whole entire art team understands. Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn take care of the most important parts of this issue as he captures the emotion of everyone involved perfectly. From Eve's Tears to Tech Jacket and his father's joy at each other growing a beard, to Cecil's Surprise and Disappointment over the outcome of War shows that they didn't miss a beat in drawing. Another thing that needs to be mentioned is how this issue truly made me understands what the coloring does for this book as a whole. The background in the first and last scenes with Invincible capture the mood perfectly, due to the colors that are being used, adding to the high level graphic storytelling that Invincible usually embraces. Finally, the cover itself is an Instant Classic, and will be one that'll be loved for years to come. It all adds up to something that is joy to look at.
Before this review gets closed out, this reviewer would be amiss if he didn't touch upon the inaccessibility to new readers that this comic possesses. Despite how well done this Issue was, the fact that it's so deep in backstory makes it truly unwieldy to pick up off the shelf, as none of the emotional moments will mean anything to you unless you read from the beginning (which I completely recommend), which sadly cannot be ignored in the overall scoring of this book. An unfortunate part of long form serial storytelling that sometimes works against the parts themselves. But on a positive note, the book gets additional props for having the character's sexual orientation be revealed without hysterics, and for the backup which has become fun reading, despite the slow start, making this reviewer look forward to the Collected Edition that much more. Bottom line, Invincible #78 does what it set out to do, and that's to give the long time reader a reward for their loyalty, something that most new readers will realize when they reach this part of the journey.
Story ****1/4: The writing continues to be some of the best in the genre, as all the right story notes are hit.
Art ****1/2: The Art Team truly deserves all the admiration and praise that has been given to them. There the reason why this story works so well.
Acecssibility: **1/2: Despite doing almost everything right, there are too many barriers for the new reader to get the enjoyment that they should out of this.
Final Judgment: **** (Excellent)
Review by: Linwood Earl Knight