Invincible: Reboot? by Robert Kirkman (writer), Ryan Ottley (penciler), Cliff Rathburn and Ottley (inkers), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Russ Wooten (letterer), Sean Mackiewicz (editor), and Ottley and Beaulieu (cover)
I admit I was a little nervous about reading this trade. I had heard bits about this story well before I read it, and I was concerned but also a little curious about this reboot thing. Was Kirkman and company really going to reset the series? I didn’t think so, this being Kirkman and all, but still, in this age of reboot/restarts/new number ones, it’s hard to say anymore. Regardless, I have to say that overall, I enjoyed the story, but it fell a bit flat for me as well.
The trade opens with the apparent end, for now, of the superhuman fight against Robot’s take over of the planet. It did illustrate once again why I like this series: often, when characters actually talk to one another, they avoid the cliched and quite unnecessary superhero brawlfest.
The rest of the book has to do with Mark and Eve’s continued acclimation to their new alien home (played mostly for laughs) and the time travel, reboot? bit, which is the bulk of the trade. While searching for renegade Viltrumite Thragg, Mark encounters an alien being that throws him back in time to when the series opened. Because Mark still remembers everything from the years since he became Invincible, he is able to short circuit events or stop them from happening entirely, thus saving countless lives. The alien creature visits, telling Mark that he was chosen for his purity and selflessness, and that he must choose to remain in the past and restore a balance in the universe, or go back to what was. Given the choice to save even more lives, though it means giving up his relationship to Eve, Mark … refuses. He chooses his daughter over all others. The alien is incredulous, but sends Mark back, only it’s not exactly when he left in the first place. The trade ends with the reveal that it’s been several years and Mark’s daughter is no longer an infant.
So, reboot-ish? Kirkman seems to have taken a page from the Saga playbook here, but it still has an impact. Did Mark make the wrong choice, especially considering that he lost years with his daughter? Isn’t this nearly the same thing as not having his daughter? Perhaps the next collection will ponder this further, but throughout this series, interesting ideas are brought up, maybe even discussed a little, but ultimately, they are just left dangling there, just like the events with Robot back on Earth, and just like why the alien chose Mark and for what ultimate purpose. Now, I don’t expect Kirkman and company to ponder these things ad nauseum, but some narrative examination would be nice every once in a while. This is why this collection fell flat for me.
Regardless, I still really enjoy the series and look forward to the next collection.