Invincible review: A funny, violent, scary love letter to 90's superhero cartoons
An incredibly-stacked voice cast are behind this all-grown-up superhero animated series.
If you were a child of the '80s and '90s, then you likely grew up on a televisual diet of cartoons like X-Men, Batman: The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, MASK and many more.
Invincible is the end result of what would happen if those cartoons grew up right along side you, with its bad language, horror-movie levels of violence and mystery-spinning plot, all while still pinned to a Peter Parker-esque coming of age story about a young boy learning to use his new superpowers.
Based on Robert Kirkman's (the guy who also created The Walking Dead) hit comic book series, it focuses on Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), a 17-year-old who also happens to be the son of Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons), an alien who can pass as a human (so, Superman, basically) and the planet's most powerful superhero.
When Grayson finally begins to develop powers like his dad, he begins to look to align himself with an Avengers-esque team (voiced by Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Quinto, Jason Mantzoukas and more) who frequently do battle with new global-destroying threats. At the same time, Grayson's family begins to get the attention of a shady government agent (Walter Goggins) and a crime-solving demon (Clancy Brown, playing a hybrid of Hellboy and Constantine).
We could spend most of the rest of the review listing off the rest of the impressive voice cast - which includes Seth Rogen, Mark Hamill, Zazie Beatz, Sandra Oh, Ezra Miller, Jon Hamm, and LOADS more - but it's safe to say that they all bring their A-game to their characters.
What impresses the most is that the story successfully builds on what feels like a stable foundation of decades and decades of this kind of story - the superpowers as puberty metaphor - and then twist it through a lens that results in a mix of Watchmen and The Boys.
While it is often lightly funny and very charming (Yeun's Grayson is an immediately likeable lead character), it does wade into its big mystery pretty much immediately - well, from the end of the first episode, when it reveals the true depths of its horror inspirations - and compounds from there, with the nice, innocent characters seemingly unaware of the potential nightmare they're about to face off against.
It makes for a very addictive watch, with the animation really calling back to the hand-drawn style of the '80s and '90s. It might seem a little watered-down after the envelope-pushing visuals that some animated movies and shows have had in the decades since, but it actually matches perfectly with the old-school tone of the story itself.
The first three episodes of Invincible will be available to watch on Prime Video from Friday, 26 March, with the rest of the season made available weekly after that.
Clip via Amazon Prime Video