One of the clearest consistencies in any Robert Kirkman comic book series is the abundance of moments that leave you clinching your chest and and teetering on the edge of your seat. Over it's 13-year run, "Invincible" has had an abundance of those very same instances, which we at CBR commonly refer to as "Oh snap!" moments. For example, more than one person person has been punched through the torso, entire cities have been destroyed and there's somehow always time to watch someone lose a limb or two.
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By all accounts, we've only got another year left with the story of Mark Grayson and friends (and enemies). Which means there's no better time than now to look back on the 15 biggest "Oh snap!" moments from "Invincible."
15 Thraxan Genocide
In the early days of "Invincible," it was obvious that the Viltrumites were superior to petty much everyone in all forms of combat. Omni-Man was the strongest hero the planet Earth had ever seen by leaps and bounds, while Mark (Invincible) quickly surpassed heroes with three times his experience. However, no one could imagine just how overwhelming their destructive power could truly be because they always held back when fighting weaker opponents, only going all out against fellow Viltrumites.
It wasn’t until the Viltrumites invaded Thraxa that readers understood just how insanely strong they were in comparison to everyday people (or, in this case, aliens). In a matter of minutes, three Viltrumites nearly brought an entire planet’s ecosystem to the brink of extinction with relative ease. Cities were transformed into mountains of rubble and the blue cockroach-looking natives' dead bodies were scattered everywhere. If it only took a few minutes for the Viltrumites to cripple the entire Thraxan society, imagine how long it would take them to do the same to Earth if they really wanted to.
14 Meeting The Real Mr. Robot
Any Justice League-like superhero team worth its salt reserves a spot for a stoic with a penchant for analyzing data in the heat of the moment – this character is more often than not at least part robot. "Invincible" is no different, as we were introduced to Robot in the second issue.
However, readers soon learned that Robot was more than a walking bucket of bolts and was actually a deformed super genius who couldn’t survive outside of a giant test tube, so he created a remote control robot to interact in the outside world. The revelations only got more shocking from there as Robot yearned to live a relatively normal life and started to focus on how to make this a reality.
So, what did he do? Nothing too crazy. He just stole the DNA of his teammate, Rexsplode, cloned his body then transferred his consciousness into that cloned body.
13 Terra's All Grown Up
Time jumps are a staple in comic books. But they rarely ever lead to any permanent damage or long-term effects. In most other cases, if a character does travel in time somehow, they find a way to eventually restore the damage they’d done. As it’s shown countless times, "Invincible" isn’t your standard comic book and that's part of its appeal.
After a brief reboot arc where Marc got to undo a lot of his past mistakes, he eventually decided he’d rather live a life full of them with his daughter at his side than risk never seeing her again. But when he returned, he found that the baby he’d left behind had grown into a toddler that could talk. Unfortunately, the first words he ever heard her say were, “Are you my daddy?” He’d clearly missed a lot.
This stab in the heart was even more painful than usual because this was the last thing readers saw before the series went on hiatus for several long months.
12 Monster Girl... You ARE the Father!
Monster Girl a.k.a. Amanda is able to grow into a giant, green monster at a moment’s notice, kind of like Bruce Banner and the Hulk. It really comes in handy in fights. But the downside to her powers was that she rapidly aged in reverse to the point where she once looked like a 12-year-old girl despite nearly being 30. The tragic irony is pretty clear, but there was a second hidden twist on this old-school trope that didn’t come into play until later on. Whenever Amanda transforms into Monster Girl, she’s biologically a male.
This all came directly into play after she and Robot got back from being stuck in an alternate dimension for hundreds of years. Apparently, outliving every other being isn’t good for one’s superiority complex because Robot became a supreme ruler and got obsessed with obtaining more power. So much so, that it drove a wedge between he and Amanda, leading her to having an affair.
When that same inter-dimensional race known as the Flaxans came back to Earth to try and take it over, one of their best weapons was Monax, the lovechild of Monster Girl and a Flaxan woman she confided in after she helped throw Robot in jail for basically being an evil dictator.
11 All Hail Emperor Nolan
Nolan left the Earth and his family behind in a very dramatic fashion. (Apparently leaving to grab some milk and never coming back was a bit outdated?) However, he’d already become essential to the series, so his return was imminent. But while a return in some fashion was predictable, no one could’ve predicted it would go down the way it did.
Quite a while after he made his true intentions on Earth clear, Nolan went looking for a new home. He ended up finding Thraxa, a planet full of blue, insect-like beings who had a lifespan closer to three months by Earth's standards. Naturally, in true "Invincible" fashion, the being with the longest lifespan is automatically deemed supreme ruler.
When Mark got a distress call from Thraxa, he was shocked to find his dad, not only sitting on the throne, but also the father of a half-Viltrumite, half-Thraxan child named Oliver. The reunion between father and son went a lot smoother than it could have, especially given that they basically fought to the death the last time they saw each other.
10 Anissa's Assault
The Viltrumites were always a race rooted in the belief of survival of the fittest. As a result, they took they took the concept of repopulation so seriously that it was seen as more of an obligation and duty than a privilege. None of this justifies the actions and approach of a female Viltrumite named Anissa who felt that Mark Grayson was the most appropriate suitor to be the father of her children.
After getting into an argument with Eve, Mark was flying across the country when Anissa suddenly appeared. He continued to deny her advances until Anissa started to fight him. She forced him down to the ground, where their impact created a massive crater, and forced herself on him before coldly leaving him behind.
The inclusion of Mark’s assault was chilling and the impact of it is still felt in the series after he opened up about it with Eve, lied about what happened to his protective father, and it was even revealed that Anissa has a son named Marky. It hasn't been confirmed whether or not he's Mark's biological son, but, come on... It's clearly the most likely reason for the name.
9 Thragg's Return
As Thragg's Viltrumite soldiers got used to life on Earth after war, the same thing happened to them that happened to Nolan. They fell in love with their families – in some cases, all 12 of them – and couldn’t sit by and watch them be put in danger. So they turned on him when he tried to keep them from protecting them from threats.
To be fair, an ancient prophecy and Nolan being the last-living descendant of Viltrum’s last ruler also played a role in the power shift, but that was was just the last of many straws that broke the camel’s back, leading to everyone turning on him and Nolan banishing Thragg to exile. But Thragg isn’t the kind of threat you let roam free without checks and balances, because he holds onto a grudge and will be back for revenge.
It was kind of poetic how Thragg and Nolan basically switched places as Nolan was the ruler of all Viltrumites and Thragg returned to Thraxa, where he would go on to have scores of children in order to create his own personal army.
8 Thragg vs. Battle Beast
Throughout the entirety of "Invincible," there are only a couple of characters who can take on a Viltrumite in one-on-one combat. Allen the Alien is one, but he had to nearly die before getting that upgrade. On the other side of the spectrum, Battle Beast is a bloodthirsty warrior who lives for nothing other than the victory of battle. He’s perhaps the only one who won’t hesitate to match the brutal violence of the Viltrumites – and it shows.
After allying himself with the Coalition of Planets, Battle Beast was assigned the task of locating and killing Thragg before he could continue his quest for universal domination. In issue #115, the two finally met in a battle for the ages, after dealing with the intervention of a third party, and it wasn't over for another five issues. By the end, both of their insides were on the outside and Thragg was missing an eye after almost having his head bitten in half, and their blood painted the rubble red.
7 Conquest vs. Mark
Conquest clearly earned his name. He’s the only Viltrumite you’ll see with permanent war scars! His timing was either perfect or horrible as the the first time he fought Mark came immediately after the Invincible Wars. Mark needed something to hit and Conquest was there to kill him. Their fight was bloody, incredible and heartbreaking. It took place all over the globe and even in space at one point.
The most dramatic moment in a fight full of them came when Eve, still recuperating after being hurt in the previous battle, intervened to protect the man she loved. She was clearly in way over her head, as Conquest was merely amused by Eve's attempts and sent his fist clean through her torso. This sent Mark into a fit of rage that ended when he crushed Conquest’s skull with a series of bloody headbutts. Or, so readers thought.
Conquest healed from his injuries and nearly killed Invincible, Nolan and Oliver during the Viltrumite War when Mark was finally able to end him once and for all.
6 Las Vegas Explosion
Once again, Robert Kirkman truly loves irony. Dinosaurus is an antihero who looks like a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has an obsession with causing the next near-extinction-level event to help save humanity from itself. He clearly has genuine intentions, but it's even more clear that he's always got the absolute worst methods.
To help the planet go green, he thought he’d make Las Vegas the answer to the world's eco-problems. Based on his own calculations, Sin City wasted far too many resources and was on the verge of going belly up soon anyway, so he planted more than fifty atomic bombs up and down the strip to level the entire city. While it wasn’t a major plot point of the series given that a major war had just wrapped up, a lot of people still died.
Sure, the city was turned into glass and eventually transformed into a giant solar panel, which is extremely helpful for the environment, but, again, a ton of people died for that to happen.
5 The Invincible Wars
In an Image Comics mega-event, Armstrong Levy hopped around alternate dimensions gathering all of the evil Mark Graysons he could find. Oh, and by the way, there’s an alarmingly high number of evil Mark Graysons. He promised them all that they’d be able to conquer the world if they helped him conquer the main Earth and all of its heroes, including the Mark of the home dimension. The result of this worldwide attack became the Invincible Wars. If one Invincible is already the strongest superhero on planet Earth, having to face off against a dozen of him is quite the dilemma that can't be dealt with lightly.
In only a few days, the war was basically over and the good guys didn’t win. Plenty of characters had been seriously injured – Eve ended up in the hospital and practically on life support. Some even died, like when Rexsplode detonated himself just to take out one Invincible in a brief, two-page moment that's easy to forget.
After suffering a few casualties of their own, the Invincibles left as quickly as they came. But they left a world mostly destroyed in their wake.
4 Robot's World Takeover
When Robot developed his god complex in an alternate dimension presiding over the Flaxians, he clearly got a taste of something he liked. It was only a matter of time before he missed the power and tried to repeat the same pattern on Earth, only with the added benefit of hindsight to avoid the mistakes he made the first time around.
The first step in his plan was to intentionally trap Mark in an alternate dimension (they really love playing with alternate dimensions in this series, don't they?) and tell everyone he’d died. In the meantime, he was preparing for a world takeover, but one day, Mark found his way back and exposed Robot for being corrupt. As a result, Robot had to kick things into high gear by killing Cecil, cutting off the leg of a pregnant Eve and attacking all of Earth’s remaining heroes with his army of Robot drones.
After implementing a series of changes and easily handling all who opposed him, Robot soon became the ruler of Earth and still hasn’t relinquished control, forcing Mark to leave the planet.
3 The Viltrumite War
The crash course to the Viltrimute War started far back in the earliest issues of "Invincible." Once it became clear that the true goal was to conquer all inhabitable planets, a conflict was bound to happen eventually. As the two sides got into position, the deadliest, most dangerous war in a comic book series that's full of them took place.
Somehow, the Coalition of Planets was able to strategically use their vast numbers and handful of quality fighters to force the Viltrumites into a stalemate. However, this only came after sustaining hundreds of casualties, Oliver nearly being killed by Thragg and the entire Viltrumite home planet being destroyed with one shot from a death laser.
By the end of the war, both sides had lost more than enough to be pushed past the point of comfort, which is the only reason Mark and Nolan agreed to Thragg’s plan to lay low on Earth.
2 Nolan's Betrayal of Earth
When "Invincible" first started, it was a fresh take on what would happen if the real world had superheroes. A world where heroes still have to deal with crappy day jobs to pay their bills and everyday problems. However, that’s only a part of what it would become and this turn happened at a very precise moment.
As far as readers knew at the time, Nolan Grayson was sent to Earth by the Viltrumites in order to further advance the planet and help make it a sustainable society of the future. Readers were under the impression that this was his sole goal until he fell in love and started a family, but then it was revealed that he was actually meant to prepare Earth for takeover and wasn’t the superhero the entire planet had viewed him as.
It started when he single-handedly murdered the Guardians of the Globe in cold blood so that there wouldn’t be any threats when the Viltrumites arrived. Then Mark found out.
1 Mark vs. Nolan
Watching people fight those they care about is never pretty, especially when it involves family. You can double that when it’s parents fighting their children. Thus, we have the most heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping moment in the entirety of "Invincible."
After Mark found out that his father was actually a warrior and conqueror sent to prepare Earth for an alien takeover, he couldn’t stand by and let it happen, despite his love for his dad. The man before him wasn’t his father anymore, though, but rather a soldier on a mission and Mark was the only thing left to prevent it. Both men stuck to their values and fought to serve them.
As the entire world watched two of the Earth’s most famous heroes fight, no one could believe their eyes, especially the handful of viewers who knew that the two were father and son. The battle ended with Nolan not being able to bring himself to land the finishing blow against the son he’d raised before flying out into space with tears in his eyes.
What moments in "Invincible" made your jaws drop? Be sure to let us know in the comments!