Amazon UK TV review: Invincible: Season 1
Chris Bryant | On 09, May 2021
Adapting Robert Kirkman’s 2003 comic into an animated television series, Amazon have teamed up with mega-duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (The Boys, Preacher) and showrunner Simon Racioppa (Fangbone, Netflix’s The Dark Crystal) to create one of the most enjoyable and grounded superhero shows available. Released alongside Disney+’s mammoth The Falcon and The Winter Soldier each week, Invincible – like all great superheroes – was the apparent underdog. But employing a stellar cast and with a focus on human connection, it proves to be a worthy addition to an oversaturated genre.
Steven Yeun (Minari, Okja, Walking Dead) expertly brings a wit and gritty likability to Invincible’s title character – a 17-year-old student who has spent his life as Mark Grayson, son of Earth’s most powerful defender, Omni-Man (brilliantly voiced by JK Simmons). Just as Mark’s superpowers begin showing, the Guardians of the Globe – Omni-Man’s super-team – are brutally murdered and Omni-Man is left for dead. In their absence, Mark must learn the ways of heroism for himself alongside a younger band of misfit heroes, while the search for the killer continues.
The voice-cast for Invincible is bulging with heavy-hitters playing morally ambiguous characters. Appearances from numerous Walking Dead alumni – Yeun, Khary Payton, Ross Marquand, Chad L Coleman, Lauren Cohan, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green to name but a few, are blended with the central cast of Sandra Oh, Zazie Beetz, Walton Goggins, Gillian Jacobs, Jason Mantzoukas, and Zachary Quinto, as well as huge cameos from Jon Hamm, Rogen himself, Mahershala Ali, Mark Hamill, Jonathon Groff, and Ezra Miller. It’s a star-studded affair, and the experience and variety adds layers to Invincible’s attention-grabbing depth and humanity.
Coupling the cast with a Kirkman’s gargantuan ability to build worlds, the eight-part first season manages to seize the viewer with time-bending alien incursions, a secretive superhero-focused government agency, grounded-yet-formidable villains and a host of human characters simply struggling to exist in this world of super-beings and grave threats. Invincible is an undeniably Alan Moore-esque creation, bouncing off existing genre clichés to subvert expectations, while also bringing a classic superhero tale to life with vibrance and excitement at every turn.
Renewing the show for two more seasons directly after the finale aired and with no shortage of material (the comic ran for over 15 years), Amazon has displayed a strong commitment to its newest animated superhero. Juxtaposing high-school problems with global threats, bright animation with graphic violence, and superhero ideals with bleak reality, Invincible is one of the smartest and most enjoyable superhero entries available outside of Marvel’s monopoly.
Invincible: Season 1 is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.