There is an abundance of spandex-wearing protagonists on screen, determined to rescue the world from peril with almost certain success. However, in the instance of Invincible’s main character Mark Grayson (portrayed by Steven Yeun), multiple catastrophic events are unfolding simultaneously, leaving him in a seemingly hopeless situation at the start of the second season.
In 2021, the first season of the highly praised series concluded. Amazon made the wise decision to renew it for two more seasons. The season ended with a montage of potential apocalyptic loose ends. Mars had been overthrown by pink tentacled parasitic squids. The Mauler twins (Kevin Michael Richardson) were planning to escape prison. The Flaxans, who could travel between dimensions, were plotting to attack Earth. Doc Seismic (Chris Diamantopoulos) was breeding large, fanged abominations under a volcano. Battle Beast (Michael Dorn) was preparing for a rematch with the main character. Titan (Mahershala Ali) had become a powerful crime boss and was determined to use dragon spirits to expand his territory. DA Sinclair (Ezra Miller) and the morally ambiguous head of the Global Defense Agency, Cecil (Walton Goggins), were creating an army of cybernetically resurrected soldiers. On top of all this, Mark’s once beloved father, Omni-Man (JK Simmons), nearly beat him to death after revealing that he was part of a fascist empire called Viltrum that had their sights on Earth.
The story continues with the aftermath of Omni-Man’s betrayal and the devastation he caused in Chicago. Debbie, Mark’s mother, is struggling with the end of her marriage to a man who turned out to be incredibly evil. Meanwhile, the remaining heroes are questioning their true purpose and facing existential crises. As if there weren’t enough threats to humanity, more villains emerge, including Sterling K Brown’s dimension-crossing Angstrom Levy, who becomes Invincible’s new arch-nemesis. In the midst of all this chaos, our young superhero also tries to balance his personal life and begins college while deepening his relationship with his no-nonsense girlfriend Amber.
Given the numerous plotlines, character developments, and potential disasters, it would not be wise to begin watching Invincible with the latest episodes. For those who found the first season’s chaotic nature enjoyable, a rewatch is not essential. A general memory of previous events will suffice for the four new episodes currently available on Prime Video, with the remaining half set to release next year.
One of the main reasons that Invincible stands out as the top superhero show on TV is its focus on character development for those going through major life changes, experiencing loss, and tentatively falling in love. As someone who has grown weary of the constant influx of Marvel content, I can see why people may want to avoid anything involving superpowers. However, Invincible uses satire to challenge the typical narrative of good versus evil that we have been bombarded with by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also effectively utilizes common tropes in a unique way. The relationship between Mark and Nolan is a heightened and intense portrayal of superhero father issues. While Odin may not have been the best father to Thor and Loki, he certainly did not use his own child’s head to brutally kill innocent people on a subway train.
Although Nolan left his family and the planet at the end of the previous season, the show still utilizes Simmons’ talents as he makes a reappearance. Additionally, the show becomes more lighthearted in its structure and gives more focus to secondary characters. Atom Eve, played by Gillian Jacobs, grapples with the true definition of being a hero, while Jason Mantzoukas’ character Rex Splode’s weaknesses are exposed and Seth Rogen’s hilarious alien Allen is given an entire episode to shine.
Even for those who struggle to invest in the stakes of whether a group of alien fascists will conquer Earth (just turn on the news, would we even notice?), the second season of Invincible is a huge success. The animation is stunning, the performances are top-notch, and the dialogue is filled with clever one-liners and intense action. Our world could use less superhero content and simplistic stories of good vs. evil. Martin Scorsese was right in saying that repetitive franchises are harming our culture, and I would welcome a Viltrumite-style elimination of the entire Marvel/DC universes. However, Invincible stands out with its grand scope, ambitious storytelling, and moral complexity. While watching our characters endure brutal beatings and disembowelment on screen, it’s almost as painful to realize that we’ll have to wait until 2024 for more.
The movie Invincible is currently available on Prime Video.