Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Invincible (Image Comics, 2003 #1-41)

Somehow, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about Invincible on Panelology. So let’s fix that. (And if you’re counting at home, this represents the first eight trades. I’m not going to go into detail on all of them.)

Invincible follows a normal kid named Mark who develops super powers one day. As it would happen, his father is actually an alien who has been living as a caped hero on Earth. So Mark dons the identity of Invincible and gets into the family business.

Unsurprisingly, things get out of hand.

At its core, Kirkman’s story is a coming of age tale. Mark is learning who he is—and who his family is—while balancing school, friends, a girlfriend, alien invasions, mad scientists, and the like. I will say this: the series starts out as a bit of a slow burn. There’s a hook that comes several issues in, and I know people who fell off the book before they got to that point.

The book’s art is somewhat more playful than its story. Invincible trades in subversion, and Walker and Ottley’s lines and Crabtree’s colors create a bright, cartoony world that is intentionally at odds with some of the book’s more serious subject matter. That makes its darker moments all the more shocking. And the capacity for exaggeration that comes with a stylized look allows for over-the-top facial expressions that go hand-in-hand with the the everything-is-new reactions of being a teenager.

If you don’t mind the slow build of momentum, Invincible is worth checking out for the way it handles superhero coming-of-age. Just know that the series is a long commitment if you want to make it all the way through—its end has been announced: #144.

Collected in

  • Standard trades (about 6 issues each)
  • Invincible Ultimate Collections (about 12 issues each)
  • Invincible Compendiums (about 48 issues each)


Writer: Robert Kirkman | Artists: Cory Walker (1-7), Ryan Ottley (8-41) | Inkers: Cory Walker (1-7), Ryan Ottley (8-27, 32-41), Cliff Rathburn (28-31) | Colorist: Bill Crabtree | Letterer: Robert Kirkman (1-13), Rus Wooten (14-41) | Covers: Cory Walker (1-12, 15, 17), Ryan Ottley 13, 18-41), Frank Cho (14), Mike Wieringo (16)

Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment (Marvel Comics, 1989 OGN)

Wonder Woman: “Blood” (DC Comics, 2011 #1-6)