Not very many comic books open their centennial issue with the main character’s head being crushed and his body being torn in half, but that’s exactly how writer Robert Kirkman and artists Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, John Rauch and Rus Wooton begin “Invincible” #100. From there, all bets are off and the traditional treatment of comic book milestone stories ceases to exist.
Kirkman fills “Invincible” #100 with thirty pages of non-stop story peppered with surprises and excitement that make this comic book a real page-turner. In addition to the adventure and intrigue surrounding the apparent demise of the lead character, Kirkman establishes a new tone for this series going forward in a manner that welcomes all readers.
“Invincible” is as unapologetic a superhero comic as is available on comic book racks today and Kirkman layers in the philosophical debate of hero versus villain, shaded by perception and intent. It may seem like a common comic book philosophy question to be addressed, but when the comic book opens with Dinosaurus popping Invincible’s noggin like a grape, philosophy and motive aren’t high on the list of “Other Things I Think Will Be in This Comic.” Some interesting points are made and boosted by the visual of having Invincible appear to himself and readers as having an out-of-body experience.
That visual is simply Invincible on a field of black, drawn by Ryan Ottley, inked by Cliff Rathburn and colored by John Rauch. The choice to depict Invincible in costume throughout the sequence makes the scene even more striking. It also directs more attention onto the thoughts and ideas Invincible shares. Ottley’s Invincible is dynamic and heroic, a fun visual that really stands out when inked by Rathburn and colored by Rauch. Additionally, the art team fully visualizes the world around Invincible, from Dinosaurus to the toppled fridge following Atom Eve’s emotional outburst when she learns of Invincible’s demise.
The wonderful part of “Invincible” #100 is that as boldly as the issue begins, it continues to deliver surprises. Kirkman and company have crafted a deep story for “Invincible” #100 with no recaps, but plenty of information about the universe Mark Grayson inhabits. Answers are given in this issue, but new questions are asked and new challenges introduced as “Invincible” positions itself for a brand new direction. This isn’t your standard-issue milestone comic celebration. There are no cover gimmicks (other than artistic variants) no pin-ups, no reprints. “Invincible” #100 is simply a straight-forward comic book adventure that pushes a protagonist to the limits and steps back to observe the resulting excitement and adventure.