Title: Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters
Publisher/Year: Image Comics, 2015
Artist: Corey Walker
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Collects: Invincible #1-4
Mark Grayson is the son of Nolan and Deborah Grayson. Nolan is an extra-terrestrial who has committed himself to being a hero on Earth having left his own planet as part of their version of National Service. Nolan is taken by planet Earth and against his superiors’ better judgement, settles on earth in an independent role doing good by averting natural disasters and rounding up the baddies, be they terrestrial or just visiting for a spot of mayhem. Nolan can do everything Superman can with the additional gift of a rather splendid moustache. That crucial difference has won Nolan a wife, Deborah. Although his square jaw and the fact that he removed a car from Deborah may have contributed…
Mark is told about his father’s occupation whilst still young and gains his superpowers whilst at work in a burger outlet, soon after meeting the local teen group of superheroes, the Teen Team. Taking the name Invincible, together with the Team, he solves a bombing spree based not on ideologically-based terrorism, but the bullying of the perpetrator’s son by High School Jocks.
Despite similarities with Superman which initially appear a little trite, the story veers off in its own direction with a verve and an occasionally tongue in cheek approach which gives ‘Family Matters’ a brio which is very welcome. Mark comes from a loving family so doesn’t have to avenge a family tragedy; his mother recognises his superpowers and apparently accepts his new-found status with a phlegmatic acknowledgement that evening meals may be even more erratic with two family members flying about the place heroing and generally saving the world.
Cory Walker’s art is clear, clean and simple and yet is capable of intermittently surprising by conveying depths such as the hidden worries of Mark’s mother, his gaucheness with attractive female superheroes or in dispatching pesky aliens whom, as he correctly surmises, don’t belong here. A potential quibble could be the matter of fact way in which issues are identified, faced and overcome, but Robert Kirkman starts as he continues, dropping some cracking surprises, embracing change and keeping matters light-hearted and fun.