Let me start this one off by saying that, If I could afford it, there are an awful lot of titles that I’d love to pick up — just for the heck of it. You probably know the feeling:
“Dang, I love this cover, and I’ve heard this is a great series, but…I’d better not.”
Robert Kirkman’s Invincible was like that for me. I heard nothing but praise for the series for years, I loved Ryan Ottley’s crisp art, and I’d constantly flip through the book just to see what the pages had to offer when I’d pass by. I just didn’t know much about it beyond the fact that it seemed like a fun series and that I’d love to try it…if I could afford another book. Y’see, I’m not poor by any means but there’s only so much that I can spend on this hobby a month and I’m already invested in so many great stories and characters that after a couple of decades of reading these things new books are simply facing an uphill battle where my wallet is concerned. Particularly at that $2.99-3.99 price tag.
Well, I’d been mulling over trying out Invincible for months and after “oohing and aahing” over the art again a few weeks back I figured I’d just take the plunge and read the first TPB: Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters. I found a copy for ~ $4 online and figured I couldn’t lose at that price. When it arrived about a week later, I opened it and started reading with Kurk Busiek’s foreword, the one in which he warns any potential readers to ‘turn back! To not let Kirkman’s Invincible get its hooks into you while there was still time! To NOT turn the page!’
Well, I turned the page alright (“hey, he told me not to!”) and it turns out that Busiek was right, I would be hopelessly lost if I dived in, because by the time I had finished the first thin volume I was ready for the second. Mark’s world is instantly immersing, as is the refreshing cast, and I found myself really wanting to know what was going to come next. Granted, it’s easy to draw numerous parallels between Invincible, Marvel’s Spider-Man, DC’s Superman (and in-between) but that’s kind of the point and Kirkman goes far beyond parody and gimmick with a multi-layered cast, whether they’re the one’s in costume, or concerned parents. Just great stuff! Anyhoo, I quickly looked into the best and most cost effective way to get cracking on the back issues and decided that the oversized Ultimate Collections (HC) were the way to go. The first one arrived this weekend, and I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening pouring over issues #7-13. Obviously a heck of a lot changes from those first half-dozen books and I have to admit that for the first time in awhile, I was completely surprised by the revelation surrounding Mark’s Dad, Omni-Man. Surely, there was a twist to what I saw in those final pages? Surely the Global Guardians weren’t…? There’s gotta be an explanation. Well, there was, and I even managed to guess about 2/3rds of what that explanation could be…and I still can’t believe it.
(I’m purposefully being cryptic for those who haven’t yet read the first volumes of the series. You don’t want to be spoiled.)
Needless to say, I’m hooked, and when next month rolls around I’m sure I’ll be ordering the second HC volume. I think I’m going to go ahead and pick up the series in this format being that I’ve already started on it, and have so much to catch up on, but I can’t wait to see what’s next for Mark, his Mom, Atom Eve, Allen and the rest. Kurt Busiek was right, you can’t turn back once you’ve started reading…
Did I mention that I was thinking about trying Kirkman’s Astounding Wolf-Man? (Gulp!)