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Invincible, Vol. 17: What's Happening TP Paperback – January 29, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
This volume focuses more on Robot and Monster Girl and their icy relationship stemming from whatever the hell it was that happened in their seven hundred year exile in the Flaxan dimension. While I don't think this arc finds Kirkman at his storytelling best, he once more lives up to his rep as an author of shocking reveals. You may never look at Robot and Monster Girl in the same way again.
INVINCIBLE is the linchpin title in Kirkman's personal corner of Image's cape & cowl universe. It's interesting how this series has evolved from its Silver Age-y teen hero coming-of-age themes to a multiple plotline narrative that explores Mark Grayson's universe thru its sprawling supporting cast. Kirkman casually, habitually, seeds these issues with characters prominent in other titles. It's no different with this arc.
As INVINCIBLE nears its milestone 100th issue, Kirkman yanks Mark away from the spotlight, even as Earth is once again menaced with another of them periodic Flaxan invasions. With Mark out of commission (and fretting over a possibly permanent loss of power), the Guardians of the Globe take center stage as the primary line of defense against the invaders. Threading thru this all-out war is the story of Robot and Monster Girl. Kirkman reveals the reason for their estrangement and, thru flashback segments, recounts their several lifetimes spent in a blink in the Flaxan dimension. If you like Robot and Monster Girl this arc is for you. If you're a fan of the titular character, you may wish that Robot and Monster Girl's arc were chronicled in some other series, namely THE GUARDIANS OF THE GLOBE.
Meanwhile, we see further developments with Mark's continuing partnership with the amoral, super-intelligent Dinosaurus, as well as with the few surviving Viltrumites hiding on Earth.
Keep an eye on Atom Eve and see if you notice her subtly losing weight as she exerts herself. Remember that applying her talents tends to cost Eve serious calories, and I love Ottley's attention to detail regarding this. Still, I favor the, er, more curvy Eve. It's a welcome change to have a leading lady in comic books who doesn't look like a fan boy's generic wet dream.
What's with the abrupt ending to the Flaxan invasion?
The art chore is split up. Ryan Ottley is responsible with drawing the present-day arc. Cory Walker handles the Flaxan flashbacks. No surprise, both artists are really good. However, in this volume, I prefer Ottley's artwork over Walker by a smidge. Probably it's because Ottley lands the more dynamic passages whereas Walker gets stuck with lots of talking head panels.
I initially wanted to rate this volume 3 out of 5 stars because I didn't find myself as into this bunch of issues. Still, Kirkman salvages this arc somewhat by going all in with the Robot/Monster Girl narrative. That very last panel is a classic "What the f---!!" moment. And who doesn't love those action-packed double-paged spreads depicting all-out superhero brawls? The upside ultimately outweighs my dissatisfaction. So, 3.5 out of 5 stars.
This trade also offers an eight-paged sketchbook complete with commentary by Kirkman, Ottley, and Walker.
I do not understand the winers who reviewed this volume with such low scores. What most people are complaining about is that Invincible is hardly there...yes, but it's not an arbitrary decision. Invincible is recovering from the events of the previous arc and he physically can not be in action, and so other characters take center stage. Other characters go through fascinating arcs and changes. In some ways, the story is much fuller and more sophisticated than the usual ultra-violent adventures of the title character.
This gives us a chance to get to know these other characters, who are just as interesting and complex as Invincible, if not more so. While we learn about what happened to Monster Girl and Robot in the Flaxan dimension we get a chance to actually miss Invincible. A trick rarely used in serialized fiction: making us really miss the main character and his heroics, while the series is still going, so that when he finally returns it will really mean something.
It's a brain vacation from the usual status quo, and only a creator owned series can do something like this. It's a brave decision by Kirkman, and in my opinion this is the strongest volume in recent memory. Read it, you won't be sorry.
Quite engaging stuff with lots more character development.