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    Comics: Spotlight - Invincible

    I read a lot of comics.

    A lot of comics.

    And a certain number of comics I read are in Trade Paperback form.  What this means, is that every so often I get a book that contains four or five individual comics collected together.  Usually these book contain a single storyline, so you usually get a full story, following the standard forms for telling a story, and come across completely satisfied.  But since these stories are serialized, despite providing a full story, they often depend on the stories that have come before them.  This often results in a gap inbetween trades and sometimes I need to reread what came before as a refresher.

    One of the series I read in trade form is Invincible, by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley.  Invincible, published by Image Comics (not Marvel nor DC), follows teenager Mark Grayson - pictured in yellow on the left - as he comes into his own as a superhero.  Son of Omni-Man - the older superhero to the left - he has big shoes to fill doing it.

    I don't wish to spoil too much, as the series hits a dramatic twist in the second volume, but the journey for Invincible does not follow the cookie cutter mold often seen in the less imagined DC and Marvel superhero titles.  Instead we see a character who begins unsure of himself, and as his powers and abilities increase, so does the confidence in himself and in his role as a superhero.

    Robert Kirkman draws inspiration from the early Spider-Man comics he probably grew up reading.  The ones written by Stan Lee and drawn by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, and Spider-Man mainstay John Romita Sr. are seen to inspire the parts of the series that make me re-read early volumes when I get my hands on a new volume.  In the early days of Spider-Man, Stan would put Peter Parker / Spider-Man in these urgent, dangerous situations that would keep people excited to read his monthly adventures, and in the background, only alluded to on occasion, lay the seeds for plots that wouldn't pay off for months.  Those seeds would be seen by readers who tuned in monthly for the next story, and when the plots came to fruition, they pay off would be grand.  Kirkman does this frequently in Invincible.  The Mauler Twins are a favourite of mine, sometimes appearing for a page, tops, for several issues before coming to the forefront.  There was a subplot with Zombie cyborgs that didn't see a conclusion - of sorts - for years.  These stories are what make me reread the old trades.

    If you haven't read a superhero comic in a while, pick up the first two volumes of Invincible, and I'm sure you'll be back for more.