This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
BY ELLIOT LINES NOVEMBER 1, 2023
After the glorified success of it's first season, Invincible Season 2 has a high bench mark to compete with. It's first season was critically acclaimed and became a fan favourite with its bone crunching scenes with animation that felt straight from the 144 issue comic book run. It may be reassuring to fans that Season 2: Part 1 does not suffer from it's predecessors success, in fact takes the Invincible show to similar heights.
After the destruction he caused on Earth, Omni-man (J K Simmons) has fled leaving Mark Grayson aka Invincible (Steven Yeun) as the sole Viltrumite protector. Life has changed for Mark, who is heading to college, and his mother, Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh), since they have found out the true plans of their dad/husband. Life must go on, and Earth and beyond must still be protected.
Adapting any comic book to the screen is likely to come under some scrutiny, but with Invincible it seems as though that is going to be less than most adaptations. The source material is handled with care and affection to make sure this is a true representation of the comics. There will always be changes to make it work in the medium on show, but here that is not so much, so much so that the identity of the show doesn't steer too far from the source material.
The pacing of the season, so far (4 episodes), is likely the reason why this feels like it is in the right hands. The show gives you time to explore the characters and the arcs that they are embarking upon. Due to it's 40+ minute episodes we spend time with each important character on show, exploring the effect the revelation that the one they trusted, Omni-man, was their enemy all along. This has the most effect on Debbie Grayson, and the show spends time with her, building her grief and focusing on the struggles she has to come through with life after Nolan Grayson (Omni-man).
There is also a key focus on the other women in this world. Amber Bennett, Mark's girlfriend, has to come to terms with being the partner of a superhero while juggling college life. And other superheroes like Atom-Eve trying to process the events in Chicago and the role she played, while her father has completely vilified her.
At the center of this is Mark Grayson. From the start, Mark has inevitably struggled in discovering his role in this world, but that doesn't stop him. He is still discovering his place as Invincible and even though he keeps getting knocked down, he has the fight to get right back up. The character is the true driver for this show and if he isn't already, he surely will become the fan favourite right up until and beyond him reaching his full potential.
As with the first season, the voice cast is stacked with talent. With the likes of Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, JK Simmons, Walter Goggins, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Quinto and a brief appearance from Peter Cullen (Transformers Optimus Prime) - this show it feels like it has the voices behind it going forward to drive the subsequent multiple seasons it surely will produce.
Part One of this series continues with the shocking bone smashing fight scenes. After the devastation of the finale of season one it was tough to see how they could top the action. But though out the episodes they sprinkle moments of greatness and animation prowess, some that will sit in the top tier moments of the show. That comes to the mid-season finale which rivals the big action scenes that came before it, without spoiling I can say no more.
With so much still to see from this universe, you can only hope that the quality stays on this level. Invincible Season 2: Part 1 takes all the good from its predecessor and continues to elevate this story and it's characters in a meticulous fashion. Invincible is here to stay, and I for one am excited to see more from these creators, and continue on this journey with Invincible and the rest of the characters.