The following review is spoiler-free.
Imagine a superhero origin story that exists in a sort of current MCU-like world where the guidelines of being a respected savior have become so set-and-stoned due to how expansive its population of superpowered beings is. Imagine a superhero origin story interested in a universe that’s heavily connected from planet to plant: a colossus network that stems back to back between both underdeveloped and overdeveloped societies. Earth then only seems smaller in this case, and this world-building that marginalizes our planet seems to intentionally be preparing us for a clashing of both nihilistic and optimistic intel. Invincible seems to be less so a parody of the comic-book genre like some of my favorites from the last decade, and more so just an intensification of it, inciting on what a generation of countless superheroes could awaken overtime.
In some cases does this debut season seem like simply a more intelligent way to work around the already redundant, goodie-two-shoe heroes and extremist villain stories? Sure, this goes over the classic Spider-Man arc of learning to live up to your superhero duties while balancing high school drama, yet it doesn’t mock it, but rather contextually affixes more to it, automatically hoisting its quality past even its inspirers. The show decides to further convince us more so than your average adaptation that what the protagonist and antagonists want are genuinely based on the experiences of their contrasting socialized communities, awakenings, and developed philosophies towards the weaker individuals that they essentially have control over. It’s not so much a “hero rising up to save the world cause nobody else can” tale, but more so a lineage-related one about a hero having to live up to another hero, to glorified legacies, or better yet, a son’s desire to live up to a father. Without spoilers, Invincible obviously explores not just that to which makes it great, but grander things that connect to controversial notions of foreign gods — how either the heart or minuteness of humanity could possibly change them — who also aren’t written as strictly fixed-minded and completely irrational elitists, but of those who follow any rationale to power, just like a human would to the rest of nature for which they have substantial control of.
Where The Boys (2019-) was intrigued by modern-day media corruption but in a society of superheroes, and now to what Invincible will be to enhancing cliché superhero narratives with richer context, I think I’m starting to genuinely find more hope and fulfillment with companies who are forced to directly butt heads with this comic-book genre’s dominators: Disney and Warner Bros. Marvel and DC may be incarcerated in the hands of just those two studios, with less wiggle room for risky ideas, but that only gives others more of a reason to start adapting superheroes and villains outside of those stories, those that may even eclipse the most iconic legends one day.
“Invincible” season 1 is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.