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Welcome to a new series spotlighting some of the best single issues in comics from the past decade. You will not find Watchmen, Sin City, Dark Phoenix Saga or Action Comics #775 anywhere on this list. These are comics that, with a little effort, you’ll find on the Internet or lost in the back issues of your comic book store. Because this article is not a review, and since these issues are not necessarily new, any surprise, cliffhanger or death will be spoiled in an attempt to show why the book shouldn’t have been missed. So that being said, welcome to: You Missed That Issue! Invincible #12.
Let’s set the stage, shall we? Robert Kirkman is an unknown in the world of comics. His other series, The Walking Dead, is beginning to grow in popularity while Invincible lives in the shadows of books like Ultimate Spiderman. Then Invincible #12 hits stands. I will gladly say that this was the first issue of Invincible I ever read, it was also the first issue I could find on the shelves at my local comic book shop. That’s how unknown it was.
Invincible stars Mark Grayson, a high school teen with a superhero father named Omni-Man. Mark desperately hopes that one day he’ll have superpowers like his father and wouldn’t you know it, that day comes. Now Mark’s father explains to him that he’s only .01% human and the rest of him is actually Viltrumite. He’s strong, he’s fast, he can fly, and heals rapidly. No laser beams or super-hearing, just a warrior’s power set.
Then the day comes when Mark’s father begins killing all of the Earth’s heroes. When Mark finds out he stands up to his Father asking him what he’s doing. Omni-Man explains the Viltrumite’s are a race that conquers other civilizations and that he must prepare the Earth for takeover.
This issue begins with Mark a.k.a. Invincible, being pummeled by his father. In fact the entire issue is Mark being brutally beaten by his father; all the while he explains his reasoning behind his actions, but Mark doesn’t back down. The real crux of the story is that Mark’s father wants him to join him in preparing the Earth for the Viltrumites. But Mark was raised by one of the world’s greatest superheroes and is forced to do what he knows is right.
Omni-Man throws Mark through buildings and mountains; he partially drowns him in the ocean and with every new setting he insults him. He tells him that he never cared for his mother, that everyone and everything that he’s fighting for will be gone before he knows it. He tells Mark that his lifespan is so long that everyone he loves or cares about now will be just a blip in his life. Omni-man begins punching Mark into a side of a mountain in a fit of rage and then bellows out at him asking what he’s fighting for. What will he have in 500 years when everyone is dead?
Mark simply answers, “You Dad, I’d still have you.”
Broken, bleeding and defeated Mark lies at his father’s feet. Omni-Man stands above him fist poised to deliver the final blow and then… he flies off. He leaves Mark leaves the planet, crying over what he’s done to his son.
If you ever wondered what made Invincible worth reading, it’s here in this issue. It’s a moment between a father and son that although not real, is very relatable. When I hear people say that comics are for kids or that they’re not real literature, I refer them to this issue. This 32 page book has more heart, more drama, and more sustenance than most books, movies or TV shows that people enjoy everyday.
If you missed it, fear not, you can still read the issue in the second volume of the Invincible trade paper backs. But if you really want the single issue experience then good luck to you in finding it, you’re going to need it.
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