Invincible on Amazon Prime


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Didn't see a topic on this adaptation, so I figured I'd start it here. Just gonna post my thoughts on the season.

After reading the first three trades (later the fourth), I began the television series. Right away there's s decent amount of shifting around sequences of events, but it's probably the tightest page-to-screen adaptation I've seen in a long time, possibly ever. Much of episode 1 was right out of issue one for starters. 

But the big draw is the murder sequence at the end, which might be the single most violent thing I've ever seen. Until the season finale.

I almost stopped watching the show after that, because the violence implemented is so extreme and stark, I couldn't bring myself to return to a world that indulged in such OTT action that seemingly frivolously. But for the first time it's not done without the emotional and human reaction blunted for brevity. Most times, like in the Venture Bros or other animated comedies, extreme violence usually comes out of pocket to elicit laughter because the intensity of it is made to be random, to change up the tone. Here, Kirkman and crew have applied upper-Snyder levels of violence to characters it takes time investing the viewers in, slowing down the pace so when shit gets real, the stakes are immediately heightened. There's so much collateral damage and so many people dying, so much violence inflicted on Invincible, that you really do not take for granted anyone's safety. But it's not simply for that reason, for the sake of coming off impressive. The final episode drags its point across its runtime putting Mark's value of life against Omni-Man's, who treats the human race like ants. He goes from killing a pilot Mark saves to inflicting a 9/11-level catastrophe on a populated city, to literally using Mark's body to split a subway train and its passengers in half, all for the sake of demonstrating how useless it is to put forth the effort in preserving what he sees as uselessly fragile lives. All of this compounds on both Mark and the viewers' sense of betrayal and horror, bringing the audience to share his emotional state rather than leaving us in our seats and simply presenting the violence as matter-of-factly because superpowers. It's no big deal to him, and that attitude appalls both Mark and us. 

 

The sense of horror is also plussed by Steven Yuen's terrific performance as the main character. J.K. Simmons is getting much of the plaudits, but I think his voice and similar mustache is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. JK's a great actor, obviously. He earned that Oscar for Whiplash. But there's something about his performance as Omni-Man that leaves me wanting a bit. Not that he's not into it, he's definitely giving it his all in the last episode. But there's a quality in his voice that's stopping short of really giving into the emotion of the scenes, or at least sounds like there is. But not for Steven Yuen, who voices every tick of sadness, shock, humor, annoyance and anger with 100% commitment. 

Invincible the comic always had this reputation of being a ridiculously violent book. I've seen images of his bones sticking out of bloodied limbs in some pages. But the best thing about the show IMO is including the human element vulnerable to that level of violence. While everyone begins the show almost blandly, by the season's finish you're right there with them emotionally and want to see what happens next. I might finish the comic series before the next season comes out, but it's got my eyes the moment the premiere date's confirmed.

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