By Juan Calvillo
“Invincible” season one, Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley’s show on Amazon Prime Video, ends by devastating the show’s protagonist and its audience. Hurtling toward the end of the first season, one thing is brutally clear during the eight episode run of the show, if it can bleed, it will.
As of April 29, Variety and other entertainment news outlets confirm fans can expect an additional two seasons of the show.
Battles in the “Invincible” universe are graphic and at times hard to watch. In the span of eight episodes, characters have been beaten, maimed, torn in half and in one scary case twisted to death. While this should scratch the itch for more realistic or consequence heavy superhero fans, that’s not all the show does.
Many of the episodes are emotionally hard to take in. It’s the writer’s ability to balance this so well that makes each episode fun to watch. The show also doesn’t shy away from giving the main cast a hard time either.
The Grayson family experiences some tough moments during season one. Debbie Grayson, voiced by Sandra Oh, goes from family matriarch to crime solver. Nolan Grayson, voiced by J.K.
Simmons, known as superhero Omni-Man goes from benevolent to secretive. Finally Mark Grayson, voiced by Steven Yeun, is thrown for a loop when the truth about his alien family’s past is clarified.
It’s the story in “Invincible” and the struggles the heroes of this universe go through that make the series worth the watch. The last two episodes are some of the most intense television that is out right now. It’s not the battles, but the story that manages to change the show’s dynamic. It does so by changing Mark, and his alter-ego Invincible, entirely.
This doesn’t mean that the animation on “Invincible” is shabby, quite the contrary.
There has been some critique online that the animation is not as clean or well polished as other shows. But the animation is crisp and does well showing the damage, destruction and simple force of impact during the many fights on the show. The best fight sequence is the final battle between Invincible and a much more powerful enemy. It’s awe-inspiring to watch.
The choices made to show how a fight between two Superman-level types goes is impressive. It’s exciting to see the attention to detail that the subway sequence has.
It shows reactions from both Invincible and the innocent people inside. Amazon Studios, Image Comics and Skybound North production companies made shots that show just how realistic a world with heroes would be for normal people.
Battles between heroes and villains on “Invincible” have realistic aftermaths, with heroes and villains both losing people. Heroes get hurt, villains get hurt and it’s shown during and after each fight in some harsh detail.
This may not be every viewer’s cup of tea, but it’s these “real” moments on the show that focus on both the intense animation and the story’s ability to connect characters to viewers.
Simmons and Oh kick their roles out of the park every episode. That’s not to say that Yeun, Gillian Jacobs, as Eve, and Walton Goggins, as Cecil Stedman, don’t lift their weight.
It’s the husband and wife team in the Grayson family that really takes the cake across the eight episodes.
Simmons manages to go from heroic and intense to barely controlled and insane by season’s end, and all with that same steady voice.
Oh is able to give her character the ability to swing from the voice of pure rage to that of the nurturing, thoughtful and caring mother.
It doesn’t hurt that the more emotional moments set Oh’s character up for shock after shock, giving her plenty of emotions to go through voice wise.
Simmons is given an awesome monologue that highlights the pendulum of emotions his character is feeling, all set to the background of a battle to the death.
Goggins takes the title for best secondary character again. His voice is unique. His acting work has him playing psychopaths, murders, fathers and brothers for a living. He is cast perfectly as the “Invincible” universe’s voice actor equivalent of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. His shock and eventual sadness at the reveal of the true villain this season is fun to listen to and watch on screen.
“Invincible” season one is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now. It is rated TV-MA for sex, nudity, violence, gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs, smoking, and frightening and intsense scenes. Two additional seasons are slated for release.