Mark, high school student and the son of Omni-Man, has finally developed his powers. With his new costume and burgeoning strength, he will one day be a match for villains on a galactic scale, and already he can hold his own against some intimidating foes. But there are enemies much more insidious, much more threatening, and not all of them wear a villain's face. This omnibus edition of Invincible is clearly the ideal way to read the series, as the stories take a leisurely enough pace that they only achieve their full emotional impact when several can be read in a row. The cover and colors are lush, and the extra materials in the back provide intriguing insights into the title. The story is compelling, presenting teenage melodrama without a trace of condescension, and even the inevitable superhero-crush-on-a-girl-he-can-never-have subplot receives a fresh spin. The book's main weakness is a chronic inefficiency, telling moments or scenes in many times the number of panels required, but the dialogue and art are of such a high quality that this inefficiency feels like a guilty pleasure. Teen readers can find a familiar power fantasy in these pages that feels new because of Kirkman's attention to the domestic life that Mark and his father maintain alongside their heroics. The only limitation on this book's popularity is the fact that its characters do not have the immediate recognizability of the X- and Bat-titles. But if it keeps up this kind of quality, the series is bound to reach broader and broader audiences. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to12; Graphic Novel Format). 2005, Image Comics, 400p., Ages 12 to 18.
Joe Sutliff Sanders