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Invincible #144 [Review]

invincible_0144The End of All Things (part twelve of twelve)

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Pencilers: Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker
Inkers: Cory Walker, Mark Morales
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Covers: Ryan Otley, Cory Walker, Nathan Fairbairn
Published by: Image Comics
Cover Date: February 2018
Cover Price: $5.99

I’ve read relatively few issues of Invincible over the years. Off the top of my head, I remember reading some sort of #0 issue when the main series was in its 20s on numbering. Whether I read them or not, I remember when Invincible guest-starred in a couple of Marvel issues Kirkman was writing. I want to say I read #50 or so, and I remember the one-issue-summer-crossover-event Invincible War thing. I have the first paperback of the series, and recall getting the first couple hardcovers to read from a library. And at one point, I had the title on my pull list, though that didn’t wind up lasting terribly long. Without digging all that deeply, I’ve previously covered several issues:

And now it’s been a number of years since the last time I read an issue, consciously–I believe there was a 25-cent issue last year that I got but do not recall reading. So offhand, it’s been more than 1/3 of the series since the last I read, and here I went and bought the last issue, and read the last issue. The final issue "ever," until some follow-up special or mini-series or such is done.

I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. I knew I was buying the final issue, that it comes at the end of the series, the end of a 12-part story, etc.

Needless to say…spoilers ahead!

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Again, I have NOT read the previous 11 chapters of The End of All Things.

This issue picks up with Mark Grayson–Invincible–telling his son about where he comes from. The sense of deja vu that I got reading this makes me almost certain it is a recreation of a scene from the first issue of the series, as Nolan told Mark about himself and such. A fitting bookend sort of scene. We find that Mark is leaving, and Markus–his son–will be remaining on Earth with Scott, a character I’m not familiar with, but suspect was a fairly major character around #100, and apparently Markus’ acting father, or "real dad." Mark himself is now leader of the Viltrumites, and is leading them off into space to a new sort of greatness–as a peaceful people, rather than a warring empire of domination and conquest. And then the bulk of the issue is vignettes of the years that follow–as we see moments from the various characters’ lives, defining incidents, etc. Mark and his daughter visiting Earth, Markus getting his costume, incidents in space, a revelation about Mark’s wife, and finally, a reflective moment as Mark looks out upon the peace that he has led.

This is definitely a final issue sort of thing. It feels more like an epilogue…but then, an epilogue is still part of the story, so, we’re getting into stupid little technicalities there. In part through the use of the slice of life/vignettes, I suspect a number of lingering plot threads were dealt with, albeit over my head as of this first reading, addressing probable concerns such as Mark’s son, what Markus’ life might be like and if he’d follow in Invincible’s footsteps; and of course we see a number of things play out in broad strokes. In some ways, this seems to offer answers long-term and by covering so many years (centuries?) it effectively lays to rest the story as a whole. Maybe there’ll be other Invincible content or revisitations in years to come, but the broad strokes have been established; we see where everyone ENDS UP, even if we don’t have the page by page issue or story-length details.

I’m sure this is not nearly as satisfying for me as it would be if I was a lot more invested in things, if I had read more of the series and more recently. That said, I really like the way it ended, doing all this–while it gives me some idea of a handful of characters that survive, and some idea of those who don’t, and broad strokes of where things wind up, it also intrigues me–makes me want to find out the details, to go back and get to read the entire series from the start, all the way through. Even if I obtain the compendium volumes–and I suspect 3 of those would get the whole series, possibly with room for spinoffs–I have no idea when I’d actually get around to such an undertaking.

That Invincible gets to end like this–on the creators’ terms, that it gets an ending on their timing, and it becomes a "finite story," I think makes it a lot stronger in some ways, and as long as the series as a whole is kept in print, it will be interesting to see how it lasts, and what sort of fans come in "after the fact," that jump into it knowing/seeing it to be a finite story instead of just another indefinite ongoing series without end.

I’m not thrilled with high priced single issues, and this was $5.99 with multiple covers. I’m not even sure if I got the "main cover" or not, so I’m a bit less thrilled with that. But assuming I did succeed on that front, and given the extra length of this issue AND that it IS a final issue, a finale, a sendoff…I’ll give it a lot more leeway for a one-time "incident" of high pricing, as it’s definitely double-length, so at least justifies its cost.

The story is solid, as said, and seems to wrap up numerous plot threads and the like. Visually, this shares art by the two artists associated with the series, which is a nice touch, giving both a chance to handle this final issue.

All in all, I enjoyed the issue, I’m glad I got it, I’m not overly troubled by the price (only the use of variant covers), and would certainly recommend this to anyone already following the final story. It may be worthwhile also for you if you’ve read the series here and there, TO see where things have wound up and where they go. Yet, as a #144, if you’ve never read the series, this is hardly the place to start.

I wouldn’t consider this a masterpiece, but it seems like a solid wrap-up to a series, and caps off the series well while transforming it into something it would never be able to be as an indeterminate-length ongoing series.

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The Weekly Haul: Week of February 14, 2018

Along with recent toy hauls and Ollie’s hauls, this week was a big comic week! I almost held off on some issues, but figured I’d just end up spending the same–or more–trying to hunt a bunch of stuff down later, or outright forget stuff that I didn’t want to. So…got a bunch of stuff, and here it is!

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I probably should have held off on the Metal stuff. I never intended to wind up so far behind on reading, but at this point, I’ve read up to #2 or so and none of the tie-ins. The shiny covers are also wearing a bit thin…yet, I still appreciate them as identifying markers for the series and its official chapters (i.e. not tie-ins). We’re just a couple issues/months away from Action Comics hitting #1,000. Sideways actually looks interesting, so I figured I’d pick that up. Detective Comics is another regular for me, and I’ve been trying to keep up with several of the mini-series such as Ragman and Deadman.

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I need to "stabilize" what extraneous DC books I’m keeping up with. I’m pretty sure Titans and The Flash are ones I’ll want to–emphasis on Wally West, and with the upcoming Flash War stuff.

Avengers: No Surrender as a weekly and hopefully having something to it. I’d much rather follow a single weekly than multiple separate titles. Though my math was definitely off, if this is a 16-week thing, it’s gonna end at #690…not #700!

Invincible concludes, so figured I’d pick that up to read. Eventually, someday, I’ll get caught up on the entire series. Especially as this caps it off and it’s a finite run.

I’m a fan of Tristan Jones‘ art…he’d posted some stuff on Facebook about this Lazarus issue out this week. I figured I may’ve missed earlier ones, but what the hey…now being aware, I’d grab this one to jump in. D’oh! It’s a 6-issue series, and this is the 6th issue. So, I’ll either have to backtrack on single issues, or nab a collected volume down the line.

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A Valentine’s Day promotion: draw a card from the bucket, and win something. Some free comics from the bargain bins, a graphic novel from the half-off bins, might’ve been other stuff. I drew one for a graphic novel from the half-off bins, and chose this Ultimate X-Men vol. 2. $30 cover price, in the half-off bins, $15…definitely an excellent "door prize" or Valentine’s gift.

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Thanks to a #SciFiJanuary post over at The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu, I was interested enough to snag this Trekker Omnibus. It’s a little bit beat up and some slight curl to it…but for the price, and very pleasant surprise of its very existence, an absolutely excellent addition to my collection!

And Comic Shop News has had Superman on its cover two weeks in a row now…quite a nice change of pace!

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The Rest of the Stack: Week of November 2, 2011

allofthestack

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ANIMAL MAN #3

animalman003I liked the first issue quite a bit. I liked the sound of it even more, which is why I picked it up at all, though I did so a week or two late after hearing reviews. By now, though, with this issue…I’m just finding myself not enjoying this. The story’s good, yeah…but the art just bothers me. I know this is a horror book, it’s basically a Vertigo book under the DC banner…but the imagery just really bothers me, beyond simply being creepy. And so really, I’m getting the increasing feeling that this is not a book for me, or at least not in singles with monthly doses. I’m more a fan of Animal Man the super-hero…and this seems to be specifically moving away from that, saying that the super-hero stuff was a phase, to be there for a time in preparation for what comes now. So it’s a case of…this is not bad, in and of itself…but I’m realizing that it’s not for me. I may stick around for a couple more issues, finish out this story…but time will have to tell, on that. (6/10)

INVINCIBLE #84

invincible084I’m not terribly thrilled with this title in general. There’s something that just doesn’t exactly work for me, and I don’t find myself all that engaged with the characters. Perhaps it’s going from feeling like I only have to read this title to realizing there’s more going on–Guarding the Globe, and at least one other tie-in mini-series, and all those backups I couldn’t get into that I skipped (or read but don’t remember the content). AND YET…and yet, this title is doing something smart. I’m finding that I like this new method the character is trying: instead of just punching things, he’s trying to talk things out, figure out underlying motivations, and generally do more than just maintain some status quo. In this issue, he sees that despite putting the villain behind bars, the same exact result the villain was going for is being carried out…so maybe the villain isn’t as much in the wrong as thought. Which gives Invincible something to think about…and though the results are looking sort of familiar, the motivation seems a bit more genuine–and permanent–than just some one-off story arc for where I’ve seen this thing done before. And since the title’s still at $2.99 and I’ve dropped so many others recently…I’m gonna stick around awhile. Maybe get the Invincible Compendium and a couple trades to fill the gap, and get caught up. Might even be able to engage more. (7.5/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #3

justiceleagueinternational003I’m sure I’m coming off as some sort of curmudgeon this week with the whopping 4 new comics from my pull list. I’m not exactly excited about stuff, and finding it far too easy of late to drop stuff. Reading this issue…I realized that I really don’t much CARE about these characters. Booster–the character and reason I’ve been getting this title to begin with–doesn’t have room to really be developed and shine, he’s just another character in the bunch. I can get more Guy Gardner over in GL Corps; and I’m getting Batman in his own title. But just as I’m ready to simply write this title off, yet another to wait and potentially consider via collected volumes, there’s a seemingly “key” moment. Something about August General in Iron that I did not know, and which adds something else to the character, something deeper that I’m a bit curious about. It reminds me of what I’ve read about X-Men, and the way the Wolverine character was developed out of an art mistake. And it’s stuff like that, that I miss about comics. So, maybe I’ll at least stick around for the rest of this arc…but after going from no DC to 13/14 DCs with the New 52 relaunch…my patience for 20-page issues isn’t there, and I have a feeling I’m not yet done dropping titles. (7/10)

SWAMP THING #3

swampthing003I kinda see this title going hand in hand with Animal Man in a loose sense. Swamp Thing deals with “the Green” while Animal Man deals with “the Red.” We also learn in this issue of “the Rot,” which means there’s more to be explored and developed. Of course, this title’s visuals are less disturbing than Animal Man, and I do have a bit more “history” and reading experience with Swamp Thing…so this is a bit more interesting. Abby Arcane finds Alec Holland, and brings him up to speed on stuff. She needs his help to save a boy who could end the world…and as the issue progresses, we learn how. And also–who this boy is, which ties to long-time continuity (if you know your Swamp Thing history) but is simply the current threat if you don’t. Of course, the cover blurbs do not seem to fit this as a relaunch–there has not yet been time to even delve into the character’s past…so “Once his greatest love…now his deadliest enemy?” suggests a lot more history than 3 issues. I’m interested, though…and of the 3 DCs I picked up this week, I’d say this one’s the safest from being dropped. (8/10)

The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 5, 2011

allofthestack

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ACTION COMICS #2

actioncomics002Superman’s been smashed by a train, and captured by the government. While his captors question him, Supes is working up enough focus to break free–and woe to those who stand in his way. Meanwhile, his indestructible cape is also put to the test, while Lois Lane gains entry thanks to her father. And it seems Luthor’s out of his depths. Oh, and the actual CONTENT of this issue, the story itself, the thing that I buy any given issue for? 20 freaking pages. For $3.99. Meanwhile, there are 8 pages of generic extras–sketches and internet stuff printed for the sake of pages thrown in to make the issue feel that much thicker, and then the USUAL back-of-the-issue preview for something I’m not even going to buy, and which is not going to change my mind, because either I’m NOT BUYING WHAT IS BEING PREVIEWED…or I’m NOT GOING TO READ it because I am planning to buy it, and don’t want to read a QUARTER to THIRD of its contents before I pay too much for cover price. So on principle alone–$3.99 for 20 pages–this thing is a huge disappointment, and I discourage anyone who hasn’t already from buying the single issue, as such. Collected volume? Sure. I think this’ll be a strong story in the end. But I for one refuse to support this sort of crap for a $4 issue when bought alongside several $3 issues with the EXACT SAME LENGTH STORY. (2/10)

ANIMAL MAN #2

animalman002Lots of death, decay, and gore in this issue. Disturbingly so, really. Buddy finds himself drastically affected by “The Red,” and his daughter seems more powerful than her father, leading him to follow the call of the Red. The cover alone is quite disturbing, and the interior visuals are, too. Even some of the tamer stuff is rather creepy–the skeleton of a cat squatting for milk especially rattled me. And yet…for essentially a horror book, something that typically would’ve been Vertigo…it’s fitting. The story doesn’t have nearly the blown-away effect on me the first issue did. But still, something to this–I’m curious where it’s all leading. And hey…it’s Vertigo, yet not. A worthy second issue, and there’s nothing to this one that prompts me to drop it or otherwise not come back for the next issue. (6/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2

justiceleagueinternational002I wish I was overtly enthusiastic about this issue. There’s something just sort of mediocre about it. It’s nothing spectacular. The story’s not terribly engaging, and doesn’t send me running for back issues and chomping at the bit for the next issue. But the story’s solid enough. The art’s not bad–I do like it, really. And together, they make for a quality book. And while there isn’t much that really jumps out or stands out…I liked it. We have the team, already assembled from the first issue, we see them in action, we see them in down-time, we get interaction and we get a built-up threat that justifies the group staying together. And on the whole, this feels like a second issue–we’ve been introduced to the characters, but here we learn a bit more. Unfortunately, there are a lot of characters, so there’s little focus on any specific character. Much of my not being bothered too much by that is my history with these characters’ prior incarnations, so I’m “projecting” what I know of those onto these. Still sticking around for the next issue, and seeing where this goes…if only for Booster Gold. (6/10)

Continue reading

Invincible #73 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Expectations of the Stack: November 18, 2009

Forgot about this tentative feature last week. I may stick with this being more of an occasonal/whenever-I-feel-like-it piece rather than a definite weekly thing. This week looks to be another rather large week, mostly for the addition of a couple Blackest Night tie-ins in titles I don’t normally buy, as well as two one-shots. Without further ado…

DR HORRIBLE ONE SHOT
This one should be cool, simply because it’s Dr. Horrible. And of course, that it’s got creative talent from the actual Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog…I fully expect it to be accurate and faithful to the show. Offhand, I believe this is a prologue of sorts, which should be all the more interesting and offer a bit of insight into the characters.

ADVENTURE COMICS #4
Well…it’s Blackest Night, and it’ll come with a ring. Almost ashamed to say I don’t much care beyond that. I recall the last issue had something indicating its story would continue after the Blackest Night tie-in, so there’s some story interruption. This is a title I’ve been buying anyway, so like Booster Gold…I was getting it whether it tied in or not.

FLASH REBIRTH #5 (OF 6)
Gotta love how both of this year’s Rebirth/Reborn series started out at 5 issues and were expanded to 6… Still, I’m on-board to see how it turns out, and hoping that the story’ll get better.

OUTSIDERS #24
No idea, honestly, what to expect from this one. Like Doom Patrol, I have absolutely no idea where things stand with the characters and their status quo. But it’s Blackest Night, so…yeah.

SUPERMAN BATMAN #66
Ditto. I think Solomon Grundy’s involved. I suppose I’ll find out on reading. Blackest Night…I can’t remember if this one comes with a ring or not…Blackest Night…

DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #5
Deadpool. ‘Nuff said.

TMNT #1 FULL COLOR ONE SHOT
This should be cool. I’ve got the old FIRST graphic novel/TPBs that put color to the early TMNT issues, but this–as a single issue–should be quite interesting coming in color. Also will–I think–be the first issue to come out from Mirage since the TMNT were sold, so kinda fitting, in a way.

Due to personal finances and this being (for me) a huge week, these other three will probably wait til the weekend or next week to get picked up:

SUPERGIRL #47
Because this is part of the ongoing Superman family story, keepin’ with it for now, though really, really hoping the story gets better/more interesting/more engaging. Also hoping we don’t have yet ANOTHER apparent character death.

INVINCIBLE #68
Not expecting much of this one…overall enjoying the title the last half year or so, and figure I’ll keep with it.

MICKEY MOUSE & FRIENDS #297
Can’t remember if this is the first or second issue coming out from Boom…nor whether or not I picked up the previous issue if this is the second. It’s great that the Disney titles are getting such a quick return to the shelves…but I can’t afford to keep with ’em all. Honestly, the variant covers for this will likely decide it for me…if I like a cover, get it. If only one’s available and there are 2 or more covers, I’ll pass.

Invincible #65 [Review]

Conquest Epilogue

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Aubrey Siterson
Cover: Ryan Ottley & FCO Plascencia
Publisher: Image Comics

This issue provides the wrapup/epilogue to the Conquest story arc. As such, this issue is pretty low-key action-wise (though the visuals don’t hold anything back). Invincible wakes up in a hospital room where he finds out how Atom Eve survived. We’re then moved along to the funeral of Rex Splode, who actually did die, and see the reactions of key characters (and there are plenty of other Image characters to be spotted in the crowd attending the funeral). Invincible gets some closure as he sees the mangled body of Conquest, and we also see some ominous foreshadowing of what’s to come. The issue closes out with Invincible stating an official change in personal policy regarding his dealing with supervillains…one that makes plenty of sense, and should be interesting to see explored in coming issues.

The story itself is solid as usual. No real complaints there…it’s what I’d expect of an epilogue. While a couple of scenes seemed a bit drawn-out, it’s the same sorta thing I found charming/enjoyable in early issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, so I don’t have any real issue there. I’m not chomping at the bit for the next issue…but I’m suitably engaged, and can’t see just arbitrarily stopping here. This story came out of the single-issue Invincible War, which was a point I decided to try “jumping on” this title. I’m interested to see where the next arc goes, as I expect it to tell me more on whether I’m enjoying the title in and of itself, or just enjoying seeing direct follow-up to an issue I decided to try.

The art’s also quite good. Things look as they should, and probably my only complaint is that the remains we’re shown of Conquest are quite…gory. That’s fitting in the story, but none to pleasant to look at (even though being such is the point and so the intent of the art seems achieved).

I don’t see this issue being a great jump-on point for new readers; though just because it’s an epilogue is no time to jump off for newer/continuing readers. A good issue that continues to be worth its cover price.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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