Review: Invincible #88 Who has the scourge?

Written by:  Robert Kirkman
Art by: Ryan Ottley
Colors by: John Rauch
Cover by: Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Image 

Invincible_88Here’s a quick one: First 10 pages, too long, didn’t read. Then, bam! Scourge virus! FUUUUUU!!!! (Troll Face).

Jokes, aside, Kirkman absolutely pummels you with exposition and babber-y in the first 10 pages or so. The arguments are dense and infuriating. It’s almost comical the amount of waffling that is crammed into the dialogue. Its used be a unique twist when a responsible and mature Mark would talk things out with an opponent and reach a compromise. Now it’s a over-used joke and just drags the comic down. Consequently the build-up of an intergalactic battle royale is slowed to a fucking crawl. Allen the Alien, with Oliver Grayson at his side, has come to Earth to unleash a single canister of the scourge virus that will wipe-out the Vultrumite threat, but kill all the human’s on the planet as well. Invincible and General Thragg face-off against Allen and Omni-Boy  in a contest of logic and reason. The conversation is lengthy and without much wit or humor. It’s only when the crew from Guarding the Globe show up to attack Mark and fuck everything up that things get interesting. When it goes off, it goes off in a big way!!! There’s an absolutely staggering plot-twist that I can’t talk too much about. It has the potential to shake-up the core of what this comic is really about, so I’m excited to see how it develops. But also it leaves me annoyed. The first half of this comic bored and pissed me off, and the second half was so exciting and tense that it left me wanting more only to be stuck with yet another cliffhanger. While that’s great for a reader, as reviewer I’m left with fuck-all to say, because any further hints will really spoil the surprise. I’m forced to keep this short.

Ryan Ottley’s art has certainly come along way, hasn’t it? His stuff is sick. He started on the loose and funkier side of the spectrum and has really worked to tighten up his lines. He’s perfectly captured the blend of wholesome animation style with the gross exaggerations of classic comic books musculature. This simplified look relies on colorist John Rauch for depth, lighting and shadow; while leaving the lines crisp, clean and bold.  The combined cell-shaded look with Dreamsicle colors fits the perceived innocence of this super-hero world. It’s austere and slightly romanticized just like moralistic blue-skies and apple pies vibes that book had when it first started out. So when action scenes cross the line, brutal violence and gore have a much greater impact. It’s like seeing Mickey Mouse ripping out someone’s entrails, it shocks your senses. The sick and sweet 1-2-punch is an affront to your values and safety. That’s why it works. A contrast of style and subject is used to great effect and delivers a thematic message just as much as a narrative point. A prime example is Ottley’s treatment of the climax which is powerful and speaks to a stubborn worldview and a failure to compromise while delivering a fucking painful story beat. And what a  beat that is. GAH!!! Can’t. Say. Any. More. Than. That.

(first half of) Story: 3/10
(last half of) Story: 9/10
Art: 8.5/10

Jerry Nelson

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Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.