“The Incredibles” is, quite simply, one of the best superhero books on the stands. Is it a cliche and a little lazy to say that sort of thing? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Each issue is full of energy, excitement, fun, and the sort of superhero stories that any fan of the genre will love. This week’s issue is no exception, featuring the beginning of the payoff to long-running subplot surrounding the Incredibles’ villains, more giant robots than you’d expect, and some funny rants by the Underminer.
What impresses most about this issue of “The Incredibles” is the pacing. To this point in the series, the pacing and structure has been very basic, but this issue works hard to construct a quick, cutting pace, jumping between various locations and characters to raise the tension. Beginning with Mr. Incredible and Frozone trying to save the city from the Underminer, the issue progresses to the unveiling of part of the villains’ master plan as various plot points come together in one fantastic page. As the story approaches that page, the pacing becomes quicker and quicker, jumping from panel-to-panel, hitting the right beats and moments. Walker’s writing becomes very concise, using dialogue carefully to build the tension and excitement.
Walker’s character work is as strong as ever with funny lines. One of the funniest has to be one of the Underminer’s robots saying “Sensors detect pain! Error!” as Mr. Incredible punches through it. The dynamic between Mr. Incredible and the other characters, like his wife, Frozone, and the Underminer, gets a lot of attention in this issue. Starting with the Underminer kicking the hero in the face repeatedly and continuing on to Frozone wanting to get his friend’s back after their fight a couple of issues ago, Mr. Incredible acts as the nucleus of the issue. It’s an interesting choice and highlights his importance as head of the family/team.
Ramanda Kamarga and Marcio Takara provide light and breezy art that helps carry the quick, energetic pace of the issue. The line work is clear, concise, and minimalist, but uses some very dynamic angles to liven things up. Matching Walker’s strong dialogue, the artists are very expressive with the characters’ faces, helping to make the story seem more immediate and pressing. Like Walker’s concise dialogue as the pace picks up, Kamarga and Takara work hard to make sure that the images are as clear and powerful as possible. One of the best pages is the aforementioned robot-punching image, because they accomplish so much: Bob punching the robot, while saying something to Helen who is stretching to stop the Underminer and talking to Bob. A lot is going on, but the pages never look cluttered or confused.
A fantastic mix of short stories and larger plot, “The Incredibles” #14 shows both mixing and coming to a head at the same time. There’s a great mix of humor, action, and drama that focuses on the characters. Every issue is a joy to read and I can’t wait until #15.