Monday, March 29, 2021

Guest Review: Invincible Animated Series


      My pal Billy Hogan sends along this guest review about the newest superhero-based animated series:

   When I learned almost two years ago that Amazon Prime was going to create an animated series adaption of the comic book series INVINCIBLE, I was very excited. 

   The comic book series, published by Image Comics, had ended earlier in the year, so I looked forward to watching the series. 

   The wait ended this past Friday, March 26, when it premiered. Right now three episodes are available: IT'S ABOUT TIME, HERE GOES NOTHING, and WHO YOU CALLING UGLY, and eight episodes are scheduled for the first season altogether. 

   The animated series was written by the comic book writer and INVINCIBLE co-creator Robert Kirkman. It is rated for MATURE audiences only because the superhero violence is very explicit at times.

   The star of both the comic book and animated series is Mark Grayson, son of Nolan Grayson, who is the superhero Omni-Man, and a member of the superhero group Guardians of the Globe (think the Justice League or Avengers, depending on your favorite superhero group). His father's superhero career is no secret to either Mark or his mother Debbie. Mark hopes to develop superpowers someday, but it hasn't happened yet.

   In the animated series Mark Grayson is voiced by Stephen Yeun, Sandra Oh is Debbie Grayson, and J. K. Simmons plays Nolan Grayson and Omni-Man.

   The first episode begins with an attack on the White House by the blue-skinned muscle bound Mauler Twins. Their attack is resisted by the Guardians Of The Globe. 

   Then we see what home life is like for the family of a superhero. We get plenty of tender family moments in this episode. When Mark finally begins to develop superpowers as a part of going through puberty, he learns that practicing them is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle; you fall down a lot. 

   Mark has to deal with some other issues that all superheroes do, like how do you come up with a good hero name, and where do you get a cool costume from. At the end of the episode we see the members of the Guardians in their private lives, until they are summoned to Guardians headquarters to face a surprise opponent.

   This episode takes scenes from among the first twelve issues of the comic book series to do an excellent job of introducing and establishing the characters, developing the plot, and laying the foundation for the rest of the episodes to build on. 

   The art style in the animation is a good match to the drawing styles of original INVINCIBLE comic book artist Cory Walker and his successor, Ryan Otltey. All of the voice actors did a great job of bringing a lot of emotion to their roles. 

   We get a great balance of humor and action as we watch Mark's struggles as both a high school student and a superhero. The end of the episode is guaranteed to hook you and make you want to watch the next episode.

   So I will have to give this first episode a solid A. If graphic violence and some mature language doesn't bother you, then you should enjoy this excellent adaptation of one of the greatest comic book superheroes I've ever read. 

   It doesn't hurt that Robert Kirkman is adapting his creation for animation, so I'm looking forward to seeing how INVINCIBLE translates to video.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Taking a Break

    Apologies for the lack of posts, gentle readers - your pal Chuck has been overwhelmed by some family issues (it's all good stuff, but very time-consuming), so I've had to take a bit of a break from the blog.

   I hope to get back to it soon - and welcome guest reviews, if anyone wants to contribute - but for now, the real world intrudes.

   A couple of quick comment / reviews to tide you over:

   - WandaVision was a lot of fun. Not perfect, but mighty close.

   - Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max has been welcomed by many fans and is apparently better that the Whedon version of the film. I have no interest in devoting four hours to another grim DC film, no matter how sumptuous the visuals. It's a hard pass for me.

   - The new Justice League comic from Brian Michel Bendis is promising. So far.

   - Why are so many of Marvel's titles such grim slogs? Do the writers and editors not see the success of the films and their balance of humor, character and action?

   - Fire Power is an excellent series, well worth checking out.

   Let's be safe out there!