Spoiler Warning: This review contains extensive spoilers as the subject matter in “Invincible” #110 is simply too significant and impactful to the course of the series to be ignored. Make no mistake, however, this is not a comic for everyone.
Every so often Robert Kirkman shakes up the world — the very universe — around Mark Grayson and leaves readers aghast. “Invincible” #110 is one of those issues. After everything that has occurred in this series, from alien invasions to horrendous floods to teen melodrama, the very fact that Kirkman finds new ground to hoe is remarkable — when it’s startlingly disarming and rocks the titular character to his very core, it is even more remarkable. That is exactly what Kirkman and Ryan Ottley deliver with “Invincible” #110.
Kirkman recognizes that readers have expected bad things to happen to Eve and/or her unborn child and capitalizes on it, pulling the rug out from underneath the characters and the reader. For now, he spares Eve, who come to the realization that the only way to avoid Invincible’s drama is to leave. Under a mound of logic, Eve dumps Mark, breaking the hero’s confidence and leaving him befuddled. From there, the writer only makes things worse. Emotionally distraught, Invincible does what all super-powered folk do to clear their heads: he flies away.
In doing so, Mark runs into Anissa of the Viltrumites and is promptly beaten and raped by her. He puts up a fight, but through Ryan Ottley’s art, it is quite clear that the domineering Anissa outmatches Mark. He isn’t sure what he’s fighting for, but he also is not relenting and submitting to her. Completely emotionally vulnerable, this isn’t date rape or semi-consensual, this is a character totally taken advantage of. A flip dismissal from Anissa implies this may be the tip of the iceberg, which in itself is quite chilling.
Despite the emotionally unsettling nature of the events in “Invincible” #110, artist Ryan Ottley manages to leave most of the salacious details in the unsettling imagery to be defined by the reader. There are plenty of cues for the reader to assume, some overt and some a little more inferred, but the rape scene is flashes and bits as and panels smaller than postage stamps charged with emotion from both Anissa and Mark. Ottley keeps Mark’s mask off the entire issue and the tightly focused cast of Mark, Anissa and Eve really gives Ottley a chance to broadcast characters’ emotions in an over-the-top cartoonish manner, stripping the issue of background scenery detail and keeping the focus on emotion as the critical component of the issue.
“Invincible” #110 is an unsettling experience for mature readers and for the characters involved. How Mark Grayson picks himself up from here and what happens to this title remains to be seen. I’m curious to see where Kirkman goes from here and how this changes the character and the comic.