Invincible Premiere Episodes Review: Adult Superhero Origin Story
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Review: Invincible’s Premiere Episodes Feature An Adult Legacy Superhero Origin Story With A Mystery

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BY April 12, 2021

It’s hard to reinvent the modern-day superhero origin story. We’ve seen so many iterations of it that doing something new is not a thing that many creators even bother with anymore. Take a look at Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the MCU. We skipped an origin story for the kid altogether. But I’m pretty excited to say that Amazon Prime Video’s new original Invincible, does a lot of new things, with material that could easily have become repetitive. The Invincible premiere episodes do a great job of bringing back the teenage superhero origin story. But with a lot of cool new things that don’t really subvert the genre, but add a different layer to it. Here’s my non-spoiler review of the first three episodes of Invincible!

From Comic Book To Animated Series: The Invincible Story

Invincible premiere episodes talk. Image via Amazon Prime Video.

Invincible comes from the mind of Robert Kirkman, the comic book creator famous for The Walking Dead. With that story, he explored the countless ways the human mind deals with something as devastating as a Zombie apocalypse. With Invincible, he explores more conventional things, while still keeping the story interesting. Invincible follows Mark Grayson (Oscar nominee, Steven Yeun) your typical teenage boy, who is waiting to get superpowers. How? You may ask. Well, that’s because Mark’s dad is one of the world’s most eminent superheroes, Omni-Man (J. K. Simmons). So Mark getting powers is something that has been long-awaited by his whole family. Right away the dynamic of Invincible is wholly different from most superhero origin stories.

The Story Of A Career Superhero

Invincible premiere episodes night fly. Image via Amazon Prime Video.

While most teen superhero origins are a fantasy that becomes a reality, that’s not the case for Mark. Mark’s story is a lot more relatable and mundane, while still being set in the world of the superheroic. Mark wants to be a superhero, is waiting to be a superhero, so he can be like his dad. It’s not an escape for him, but something he really aspires to be. Being a hero is like a career, and he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. So right away this grounds the story in some familiar real-world emotions.

There are no accidents nor does trauma shape Mark’s superhero ideals. He’s trying to live up to the legacy of his old man. And his desperation in wanting to be like his dad is incredibly heartbreaking and moving. Wanting so badly to live up to the ideals of a man, who isn’t just his hero, but a literal one, is immensely tough. And the series does a great job of building the relationship between Mark and his dad in an incredibly moving way.

The Invincible Premiere Episodes Convey a Sense Of Wonder and Awe

Invincible premiere episodes the talk. Image via Amazon Prime Video.

The series never strays too far from its superhero setting, especially since so much of the emotional arcs of the characters focus on it. The usual tropes still exist. The training montage, the journey to discover the name, the superhero suit, testing out the powers in the real world; it’s all there, and it’s all glorious. There’s other heroes flying around, constant alien invasions and super villain attacks. It’s just the world that Invincible is set in; very casual and matter of fact.

I was also very impressed with Invincible’s animation from the trailers, and the actual series delivers on that promise. There’s a polish to the style that feels very classic, while also stunning at the same time. It’s like the hand-drawn animation style from back in the day, while also incredibly engaging and real. The vibrancy of color is very much reflective of Invincible’s comic book origins. It’s also a testament to how serious and mature superhero stories don’t need to be visually dark or gloomy. The designs of both the heroes costumes and powers are bright, colorful, and fantastic. The more adult themes of the series don’t suffer from this aesthetic. In fact, they might work a little better because this feels like the Saturday morning fare of old. 

Make No Mistake, Invincible Is Very Mature 

Invincible premiere episodes OmniMan. Image via Amazon Prime Video.

Despite its kid-friendly vibes and look, there’s a lot of adult content on this show. Based on the Invincible premiere episodes, the series features a lot of brutal violence, blood, and gore. Characters get killed incredibly graphically. And I do mean graphic. Some moments even made me wince a little. The story of Invincible feels mature as well, despite its high school setting. The larger, and grander story at play, involving elements outside of Mark’s scope, are unfolding in very mysterious ways. This series lets us know in subtle ways that there are other, perhaps more ominous, revelations awaiting us. 

So far, we mostly focus on Mark learning to use his powers and becoming a better hero. Those sequences happen in more realistic ways than usual. He fails, tries again, and keeps going. He gets support from his mother (Sandra Oh) and another unexpected source. There’s even the usual romantic drama angle that’s pretty well done, and not at all cliché. But Invincible feels like it has a lot more going on than just a new superhero universe for adults.

A Lot More To Invincible’s Premiere Episodes Than Meets the Eye

Family Image via Amazon Prime Video.

Invincible has this layer of untold suspense that is incredibly well-done and sinks its hook into an audience, without them even realizing it. There’s an unseen through-line between all of the cool high school story elements. Most of it involving the more adult superheroes in the world, and a B-storyline that’s unfolding along with Mark’s origin story. It’s ever so subtle, except when it’s not. Anything more would definitely be spoiler territory, and the surprises in the Invincible premiere episodes are worth waiting for. Still, don’t focus on trying to get ahead of the storytellers. This is a big story, but the focus on Mark and his journey is moving all on its own. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Invincible series to see how it all plays out.

Invincible premieres on Amazon Prime Video on March 26.

Are you looking forward to yet another Robert Kirkman written comic book on the small screen? Let us know your thoughts on Invincible in the comments below.

Featured Image via Amazon Prime Video.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

Amazon Prime VideoInvincibleJ.K. SimmonsRobert KirkmanSteven Yeun

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