Invincible #144 / Writer: Robert Kirkman / Artist: Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker / Letterer: Rus Wooten / Inker: Mark Morales / Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn / Publisher: Image Comics / Release Date: February 14, 2018
The greatest super hero comic book ever created ended on February 14, 2018. No, that is NOT a hyperbole. Invincible, from issue 1 all the way to 144, has been nothing but a giant love letter to superhero comics. If you love superheroes like we do, then Invincible has it all. You like a family of superheroes? Invincible did it. You like sci-fi space battles? Invincible did it. You like EPIC world ending moments? Invincible did it. You want some of the most intense, over the top, grotesque fight scenes ever put on paper? Invincible did it. From teams, to teenage heroes, to legacies, to top secret underground government factions, everything was explored in this comic. But all good things must come to an end. And as we reach the last issue of this epic run, Kirkman still finds a way to ask- What happens next?
One things Invincible has done best that I haven’t seen done anywhere near as good, is wrap up a lot in one issue. From page one to the last page you get a whole story that most big companies spend months and hundreds of pages to tell. And that’s not mentioning your poor wallet. Invincible #144 follows this same tradition. While one will look at the hefty price, long time Invincible heads know that they’re getting their money’s worth. The issue showcases the lives and times of Mark’s family. Each time the story shifts, the art and style changes as well. Believe it or not, Invincible has only had TWO main artists, Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley. Both shine in their own ways that have made them fan favorites in Image comics. They both share the book, thus splitting the art duties in half. Ryan Ottley’s facial expressions from the children, to the adults, to even the aliens are second to none. Having Cory do the final half of the book was incredible, especially since he’d been off the book for a while and you can see his progression. The story arcs showcase the future of the Viltrumite empire, who picks up the Invincible mantle after Mark and tying up literally every loose end from the entire run.
The first half takes place immediately after the last issue, with Mark talking to the son he just found out he had. You realize that this is exactly how the book started in issue # 1, with Mark’s dad talking to him. It also catches you up to speed from the last 20-30 issues, almost like a reminder of what type of closure still needs to be met. Ryan Ottley does this part, and it’s almost sad to know this will be his last. The second half is done by Cory Walker and has it all. Deaths, rebirths, new characters, you name it. We see Mark’s daughter Terra grow up and become the new Invincible. I liked how the book focused more on Mark’s Legacy and how he has influenced the world instead on just him. Now I know what you’re thinking, why introduce new things if the story is over? Well, ever play an RPG? Where the game end, but the world still lives on even after the game ends? That’s basically what happened here. The story is over, but the world lives on. As I turned through each page I can feel eyes start to sweat. I realized I was reliving 15 years of dedication to my favorite book. This wasn’t a goodbye, but a celebration.
I will be honest here, if you haven’t read at least half of the entire Invincible run, you might have issues reading this comic. But then again, isn’t consistency one of the biggest complaints us hardcore comic fans have? Ever read a current issue that completely contradicts a past issue? No such thing in Invincible. I see this as like an award to longtime fans who have been around since day one (or even the fans who caught up from the beginning to the end). Now I wouldn’t recommend this approach to every comic. The fact that the same guy wrote every single issue. shows that this was a perfect way to end it. While newer fans who haven’t read each issue might see a moment that could give them pause in the book, long time readers will understand every nod to a past moment in the comics run. Which could also lead to long, dragged out moments. But knowing that this is the last issue, it didn’t bother me too much to let the writer get everything he wanted out of these character that he’ll probably never write again.
Recently Robert Kirkman tweeted that his Walking Dead book outsold every Marvel book. I was wondering why he decided to post that, but then he followed up with a story about how he was told when he left Marvel that he wouldn’t make it. He has 175 Walking Dead issues, 144 Invincible issues and multiple TV deals that says otherwise. While this issue isn’t perfect (honestly no comic is). It does go on for a little TOO long closing up past issues that in my opinion, were not only distracting but unnecessary. But it was perfect for me, a guy that was there 15 years ago A guy who opened a random comic, bought it, read it and told everyone about it. One of those people was Phonytoast, and now we do a podcast together. All things must end. But a Legacy will always live on.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 Superman Neck Snaps
You are now in the presence of The Mighty Hands of Khonshu aka The Fist of the NorCal aka Infinity Knuckles aka Vibranium Clippers aka Terrigen Haze aka Vishanti Slippers aka Latverian Lamborghini aka Adamantium Triceps aka The New Comic Book Daywalker aka Unstable Molecule aka Beats by Pym aka Foster Child of the Atom aka Triple XXX-Gene aka the Walking, Talking Red 100 Emoji. Stop putting pineapple on a pizza.