Mark: I think I'm finally getting superpowers.
Debbie: That's nice. Can you pass the potatoes?
A CAPE WILL DIE ON EVERY PAGE.
Created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, this Comic Book
series revolves around the life of Mark Grayson, who is pretty much your typical high school student
, except for the fact that he is the son of Omni-Man
, the most powerful superhero on the planet
. Over the course of his heroic career, Mark, as the superhero Invincible, has fought aliens, joined super-teams and bounced from dimension to dimension. All the while, he has to deal with choosing a college, graduating high school and, of course, falling in love....as well as his own father trying to kill him, the destruction of various major cities, mass murder and interplanetary warfare.
The series' has become well known for combining brightly coloured superheroes with often very dark themes, and gore laden fight scenes. Very rarely are superhero tropes played perfectly straight, often getting twisted into new directions that give a heave to the status quo.
No relation to the 2005 movie about Vince Papale starring Mark Wahlberg
, or Werner Herzog
's 2001 film about Zishe Breibart.
Now has a character page
which Needs Wiki Magic Love
. Please put all character-related tropes there.
This series provides examples of:
- Aliens Speaking English: Lampshaded.
- All There in the Manual: All the information, such as Shrinking Ray's possible origin, insight on Atlantean culture and background on villains like Kursk, are revealed in The Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: The original Guardians of the Globe (except maybe Black Samson, who is a Flash Gordon/Doc Samson Expy) were thinly-veiled clones of the Justice League of America. Additionally, most villains faced in the first volume are 1:1 counterparts of Marvel villains (i.e., Mammoth=Rhino, the Lizard League=Serpent Society, etc.)
- This was acknowledged by the creators themselves in the second trade paperback. They went with easily recognizable archetypes because they simply didn't have time to come up with wholly original characters and make the reader care about them as well.
- Arch-Enemy: Eve can't think of another way to describe Killcannon, who she's been tangling with since she was little.
- Mark's Arch-Enemy is probably Angstrom Levy. Even though he appears only rarely, Levy is the only major villain in the series with a personal vendetta against Mark and vice versa.
- Arm Cannon: This is Killcannon's gimmick. He actually still has a working hand on that arm, which gives him a leg up on a lot of other characters who have this.
- The Atoner: Thadeus and Omni-Man not only want to atone for their sins, but but for the sins of the whole Viltrumite empire.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Thragg, the head of the Viltrumite Empire, is the strongest, best fighter of his people. Not a single one of the group sent to kill him gave him more than a bloody nose. Subverted when the rest of the Vilturmites learn that Nolan is the son of their previous Emperor. They immediately switch their allegiance from Thragg to Nolan, despite Thragg still being by far the strongest. Emperor Argall, they say, was followed for his wisdom, not his strength.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Invincible sees himself as being above the law and Cecil simply because he's the strongest on the planet.
- The writers themselves made it a point early in the series to show this Viltrumite attitude as a bad thing, and so Invincible's increasing tendency toward this mindset is an alarming bit of Character Development.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: As of issue 102, Nolan is the Emperor of the Viltrumites.
- Badass Mustache: Every male Viltrumite (Conquest has a particularly nice one). This is completely cultural, as both Mark and Nolan grew stubble on the alien planet. There is actually a specific name for the removal of a beard grown by a Viltrumite in disguise. The ancient Viltrumite traitor Thadeus, now the leader of the Coalition of Planets, performed the Toolock Pull (literally ripping the beard off his face) to show his Viltrumite mustache in a pretty hilarious reveal.
- Really, if Mark ever starts growing a mustache, watch out.
- One of the alternate-reality Invincibles that Angstrom Levy brought in had the Viltrumite mustache.
- Battle Butler: Black Samson's butler Sanford, emphatically against his employer's wishes, crashes the Guardians of the Globe's funeral because he had been preparing to kill them himself.
- Black and Gray Morality: Often addressed. Mark is an idealist in a world where idealism rarely works out (although he has scored a few victories by appealing to the better nature of his opponents.) Cecil, on the other hand, often tells Mark "I Did What I Had to Do."
- Blood Knight: Battle Beast and Conquest.
- Body Horror: The Sequids escape annihilation by hiding in their host's throat.
- They try this again later with Rex. It doesn't work, as he manages to crush them both before they can latch onto him.
- Brick Joke: Objects Mark tosses across the world with his Super Strength will occasionally crash down several issues later. In London.
- Brought Down to Normal: Black Samson lost his powers, and was booted from the Guardians of the Globe. Crestfallen, he stayed in his mansion for weeks. He developed a power suit to compensate, and got onto the new team. His powers eventually returned.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Invincible Punch!" ...which is mercilessly mocked and lampshaded by everyone who hears Mark say it.
- The Cameo: Every so often, another Image hero will put in an appearance of varying lengths, be it as a guest star (The Astounding Wolf Man) or just a one-panel cameo (Spawn).
- Cape Punk: A mixture of Deconstruction and Reconstruction elements constantly switching like a revolving door.
- Captain Ersatz: All over the place.
- Damien Darkblood, Demon Detective, who dresses exactly like Rorschach from Watchmen, looks just like him when viewed from the back, and has some of the same speech quirks.
- The Guardians of the Globe are a whole super-team of really obvious Captain Ersatz. There's Aquarius (Aquaman), the Red Rush (the Flash), Darkwing (Batman), the Green Ghost (Green Lantern), War Woman (Wonder Woman), Martian Man (Martian Manhunter) and they all die. Whether Omni-Man or the Immortal is the "Superman" of the group is debatable.
- And then there's another shapeshifting Martian later on in the series, but he's a Plastic Man expy.
- As a bonus, all of their profiles in the Handbook obliquely mention the pasts of their Justice League counterparts. Especially Darkwing.
- The Viltrumites themselves resemble the Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z, given their world-conquering tendencies.
- The Elephant mirrors Spider-Man villain the Rhino.
- Cardboard Prison: Stronghold Prison is broken out of so often that they go out of their way to hire Invincible just to slow things down...and then they have another breakout.
- Catch Phrase: "This is so gay" when he's carrying another man (in a necessarily suggestive pose) while flying. May be said by Invincible, the passenger or some third party, for slightly mysterious reasons.
- At least one female passenger has uttered the line after simply realizing that the person he most usually transports this way is male! In a similar vein, Atom Eve says it while she's carrying her boyfriend while in flight, commenting on the role reversal rather than the contact.
- Eventually Mark starts carrying people by holding onto them just under their armpits. He still receives a common complaint—that it's really uncomfortable.
- Both complaints usually elicit one of two reactions from Mark: Either "I know" or "Shut up."
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Re-Animen. Mark fought them several times without he or the reader having any idea what they were or where they came from, but they became plot-significant with the introduction of their creator D.A. Sinclair.
- Just about any character who appears briefly is likely to become important later on.
- Clark Kenting: Omni-Man and Atom Eve. Mark himself may qualify given how often his mask gets ripped.
- Lampshaded and/or deconstructed. In two early stories, Mark is recognized even with his mask on. Apparently masks are enough to hide your identity from the general public, but not from people who actually know you.
- The second time isn't really surprising. Invincible and Atom Eve show up at the home of their teacher, who we saw earlier knows them well-enough, and Eve wasn't wearing a mask or a different hairstyle, so it would have been easy to figure out who she was, and then guess at who her companion could be.
- Cloning Blues: The Mauler Twins are a mutated Mad Scientist and his clone. They simply cannot agree on which was the original.
- Eventually, a sequence of events occurs which guarantees the original—whichever he may have been—is now dead. The Twins miss a single beat...and then commence arguing over which is the lower-generation clone!
- They are also, coincidentally, blue clones.
- Clothing Damage: Happens every now and then in some of the really intense fights.
- Color Character: Past members of the Guardians of the Globe: Red Rush, Green Ghost and Black Samson (though this appears to be Black Samson's actual given name).
- Completely Missing the Point
Invincible: In about six hours, I lose my virginity to a fish.
Cecil: Good Lord. You're a virgin?
- Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Capes Inc, and their leader Commander Capitalism.
- Cousin Oliver: Lampshaded, as Mark's recently introduced younger half-brother's name is actually "Oliver"; the requisite Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome has been hand-waved or justified, depending on who you talk to, by his mother being from an alien species that ages much faster than humans or Viltrumites.
- His name being "Oliver" is also a reference to Ol-Vir, a Daxamite (Superman pastiche) Legion of Superheroes villain, who also started out as a bratty kid with superpowers.
- When he gets older, he vaguely looks like Damian Wayne from Batman...with purple skin.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Machine Head produces a team of super-powered bodyguards, most of whom are easily defeated Elite Mooks. Then there's Battle Beast, who effortlessly beats Invincible and puts Black Samson and Bulletproof in the hospital. The former makes him a major breach of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, as he may be stronger than the average Viltrumite. Which is later confirmed when Battle Beast is recruited into the Viltrumite War; while no match for Thragg, he can tear through lesser Viltrumites with ease.
- Cute Monster Girl: Subverted by, uh, Monster Girl, who is cute...except when she's a monster.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Issues 80 and 81 lampshade this heavily. In 80, Mark encounters a guy who'd invented a "gravity gun" in his basement and used it to rob a bank. He had considered selling his invention, but he needed the money now and that sounded like a long and complicated process. He is really bad at being a supervillain, and Mark lets him go (and returns the money back to the bank) with the advice that he should just sell the technology. In 81, it turns out that he sold the gun...to a bank robber. He didn't know who to see or call about this stuff. After capturing the second robber, Mark takes the guy to Cecil, who gives him a very high-paying job to invent new weapons.
- He's not just inventing new weapons. After Dinosaurus glassed Las Vegas, claiming that the city was a tremendous resource drain and that people would use the land much better if the area were a giant solar power plant, the aforementioned inventor took the idea and ran with it. Now he and Cecil have built a solar plant that provides clean power to nearly half the people in the country.
- Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Subverted, since he got his powers when he was 17, and not only did he know they were coming, he couldn't wait to have them.
- Of course, Monster Girl was cursed to age backwards when she was 16...
- Darker and Edgier: It doesn't get much darker than Midnight City (which is blocked from all sunlight), but when local superhero Darkwing bites it, his sidekick takes up the cowl and starts killing insurgent criminals.
- Deal with the Devil: At the end of issue 77, Mark accepts Thragg's cease-fire arrangement.
- Later on Issue 84 has him break out and up with Dinosaurus in an attempt to find better ways to save the world.
- And later than that, in issue #100, Mark accepts the offer to return to working for Cecil in exchange for not facing the legal repercussions of his actions with Dinosaurus.
- The Viltrumites under Mark's father and most of the world governments ally themselves with Robot, even though the former is aware of his purge of most people (heroes or villains) capable or that knew would try stopping him because as it stood too many lives would be lost trying to fight him.
- Decon-Recon Switch: The comic picks apart tons of superhero tropes, depicts a world of Black and Gray Morality, is willing to feature graphic violence to empathize that heroes aren't holding back, subverts many classic superhero origins and motifs, and rather viciously deconstructs the idea of teenage superheroes. And yet in the end it reconstructs the genre; not matter how many tropes it subverts or deconstructs, the heroes are still heroes protecting the world from evil and many times their idealism and courage ultimately wins out over the cruel and cynical villains.
- Defector from Decadence: Mark doesn't realize it at first, but being raised among humans turns him into one.
- Depending on the Writer: Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man have an odd case of this happening between two series by the same writer with the character of Cecil Steadman, who appears in both series. In Wolf-Man, Cecil is shown to be much nicer than in Invincible; for example, he's willing to believe the best about Wolf-Man (that he didn't kill his wife), whereas he always believes the worst about Invincible (that he's a bad guy working with his father). On the other hand it's fairly well-known that Cecil tends to hold grudges (by his own admission) and Gary has never given Cecil a reason to doubt him, unlike Omni-Man or Invincible.
- For the record, Cecil's appearances in Guarding the Globe and Invincible Universe, which do feature a different writer than the main series (Phil Hester), are somewhere right in the middle — Cecil's unquestionably a good guy but he's still all too capable of crossing the line.
- Development Gag: Several, but especially Bulletproof, who has Invincible's original development name, costume, and the same exact powers.
- The Bulletproof costume also appears in the first issue as a prospective outfit for Mark, and on one of the alternate Invincibles during the Invincible War.
- Disappeared Dad: Easily one of the only examples that is more horrifying than the one from Guyver.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted with Anissa and Mark.
- Elite Mooks: Machine Head's super-powered bodyguards, one of whom turns out to be strong enough to potentially come back as a Big Bad.
- Embarrassing First Name: Mark's real first name, Markus. Hardly anyone besides his family and his best friend knows about it.
- Enemy Mine: Invincible teams up with the rock-covered supervillain Titan to take out the crime lord Machine Head. Titan was using Invincible to eliminate the competition.
- Later Mark teams up with Dinosaurus, because despite being a sociopath he actually has good ideas for how to improve humanity. He just doesn't care how to get there. Mark figures he can control Dinosaurus enough to keep him from killing innocents...and if push comes to shove, Invincible's one of the few people with the physical strength to stop him, so why not be standing right next to him if things go horribly wrong?
- Mark had to team up with one of his own evil counterparts in order to survive against the only other remaining evil counterpart. This alliance was short-lived — as soon as they were safe the evil Invincible betrayed Mark by taking the remorseful, surrendering Angstrom Levy back to his home dimension.
- Enfante Terrible: Oliver is sliding down the slippery slope towards this because he can't emotionally connect with humans due to both having a longer and shorter lifespan than them - it's complicated. He may as well be twirling a mustache (He is a Viltrumite, after all...) with 666 on his forehead by now.
- They seem to have dropped the Oliver being a tiny evil Omniman plot thread, despite how heavily they were foreshadowing it when he was first introduced.
- Evil Twin: The Invincible War was all about this — Angstrom Levy recruited 16 evil versions of Mark as part of his revenge scheme. Mark himself barely fought any of them, though.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Robot is a robot, and is labeled accordingly right on his chest. In parentheses for some reason.
- Subverted, as there's actually a human inside the robot. He originally controlled the robot remotely.
- Expy: The series is full of them, mostly minor background characters but a few have been important recurring characters. The title character's father Omni-Man starts out as an Expy of Superman (but 10 issues in, his plot becomes Beware the Superman). The original Global Guardians team were all expies of the Justice League until they were killed by Omni-Man and a more original team took over. Expies of Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Robin remained important supporting characters longer than the rest. Cecil is Nick Fury but just barely managed to keep his eye.
- Originally, Invincible was going to be named Bulletproof before Kirkman & Walker changed his name and costume; later in the series, the Guardians of the Globe inducted a new member, Bulletproof, with the aforementioned costume and similar powers to Invincible.
- Gets taken a step further when after Mark is taken out of commission by being exposed to a virus, Bulletproof to help Eve with their business takes up Mark's costume to do the jobs.
- Face-Heel Turn: After ruling over the Flaxan dimension for one-thousand years, Robot decides to conquer Earth... and effectively succeeds in doing so by issue 114.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Apparently Kirkman really dislikes infidelity; Rex Splode cheats on Atom Eve once, and is treated like crap by everyone for it until he dies.
- Except, nothing bad happened to Dupli-Kate when she cheated on him. And after Rex got a decent amount of Character Development the other characters got along with him just fine. The only person who treated him like crap until he died was Eve, who ends up feeling really bad about it.
- Then again, while nothing explicitly bad happened to Dupli-Kate, she doesn't have nearly as many friends as she used to and there are a few characters who refuse to work with her.
- First Episode Spoiler: More like Volume One Spoiler if you're going by the hardback collections. Omni-Man and the Viltrumites are ruthless conquerors.
- Fish People: The Atlanteans.
- Flying Brick: Invincible, Omni-Man, and all other Viltrumites, along with The Immortal, Allen, and Bulletproof all have this power set.
- For Science!: Sinclair's main motivation.
- Freudian Excuse: Rex Splode and Monster Girl's respective backstories. Rex's difficult behavior stems from how he literally has no friends and a family that never wanted him, while Monster Girl's self destructive vices are her way of coping with her "condition".
- Generic Doomsday Villain: These pop up now and then. Unusually, they are treated by the writer with all the gravity they deserve: very little. One notable one was vanquished by all the guest stars and supporting characters in the series working together while the series protagonist, Mark, was unavailable. It was a Crisis Crossover reduced to the B-plot of one or two issues of one title.
- Gilligan Cut: in #73, Oliver emphatically refuses to eat any of the big alien bug Nolan's caught for dinner. The next page has him messily eating it and asking if there's any more.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted with Atom Eve.
- Gorn: Used to an extreme degree, and very often. The Viltrumites absolutely tear their victims apart, and nearly every fight seems to leave someone missing a limb, their intestines, a cycloptic eye, or their brain. Notably, every battle where this happens is a really big deal.
- Has Two Mommies: Flaxan Emperor Monax, one of whom is Monster Girl.
- Heel-Face Turn: D.A. Sinclair and Omni-Man. Also Powerplex.
- Heel Realization: Omni-Man has one of these when he's about to kill his own son. This eventually leads to his Heel-Face Turn.
- Hero Killer: The Viltrumite villain Conquest, twice responsible for the worst beatings Invincible has ever received. The first one resulted in both of Mark's arms being broken (after which he headbutted Conquest to death and promptly passed out), and the second one had Conquest disembowel Mark while being choked to death. Though both times, despite beating Mark nearly to death, Conquest loses. The second time Conquest is Killed Off for Real.
- Heroes "R" Us: The Guard Organization.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted, in that Atom Eve is the one that wants Invincible, who's dating another girl. It ends up being played straight, as Invincible breaks up with his initial girl and ends up in a relationship with Eve.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rex Splode and Darkwing II during the Invincible War.
- Human Aliens: Viltrumites. The majority have black hair with a few blond/brown exceptions, but otherwise are virtually identical to humans. Justified, seeing as how they're nearly 100% genetically similar to humans.
- Averted by just about every other alien race in the series, however. After the Viltrumites and Expies of the crew of the Enterprise, even the most human aliens have colorful/textured skin, various appendages, and other significant physiological differences.
- Humanity Is Infectious: The reason behind Omni-Man's Heel-Face Turn. And now that the Viltrumity war is over, with those remaining explicitly going under the radar on Earth in order to repopulate, odds are they or their children are going to be highly susceptible to this. In fact we already see one instance of this. Thragg had to reprimand a subordinate for blowing his cover to help fight off an alien invasion of Earth. The subordinate justifies his actions by saying that one of the sixteen women he loves was directly threatened by the invasion.
- Identical Panel Gag: Hilariously invoked in this page◊, featuring a comic book artist talking about reusing panels.
- Honor Before Reason: Omni-Man refuses to have Thragg executed because he feels it clashes with his new goals for the Viltrumite Empire.
- Idiot Ball: Probably well within the borders of Too Dumb to Live. Cecil Stedman, putting world-destroying villains in Cardboard Prisons, and faking their deaths.
- It's especially frustrating Since Stedman always emphasizes lethal force as the best course of action to Mark's face but never follows his own advice.
- Infant Immortality: Horrifically subverted with Jack Duvall, Powerplex's young son.
- Informed Bustiness: In the aftermath of the Conquest event, Eve reforms her body from scratch; Mark soon notes that her breasts look bigger. Eve remarks that when she rebuilt herself some "improvements" were unconsciously made. That said, her bosom doesn't look any different than usual - Eve was always quite busty since day one, the way Mark immediately notes how bigger she is now doesn't match the unnoticeable "change" in her actual design.
- In the extra material in the Trade, Kirkman states this was intentional, saying that it wasn't really supposed to be noticeable to anyone but Mark. However, artist Ryan Ottley did shamelessly show her cleavage off a little more than usually from that point.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Teamed up with Spider-Man. As Kirkman was at the time the writer of Marvel Team-Up, he was able to tie one issue of that book in with Angstrom Levy's attempt to wear Invincible down by tossing him into random other universes. A single panel in the corresponding Invincible issue implies that Mark also got sent to the DC Universe and teamed up with Batman.
- In the Blood: A theme that comes up later in the series is Mark struggling with his natural Viltrumite violent streak. Of late, it seems to be winning.
- Is That What He Told You?: In issue #2, Omni-Man tells Invincible about the Krypton-like world that he came from. In issue #11, he admits that he left out the part where they were a conquering race of Supermen.
- Julius Beethoven Da Vinci: The Immortal was Abraham Lincoln. However, as long-lived as he is, he seems to have a fairly average human memory, and as such recalls very little of his distant past.
- Just Eat Him: Averted when Komodo eats Shrinking Ray. The last we see of Ray is him being popped into Komodo's mouth, but presumably he does chew him; otherwise he could probably regrow himself in Komodo's belly before the digestive juices went to work.
- Karma Houdini: D.A. Sinclair and Darkwing are both shielded from justice by Cecil, who has use for their unique talents. Learning this drives a bitter, incensed Mark to leave Cecil's employ.
- A later development would see Cecil protecting Mark from the consequences of his actions, in exchange for Mark returning to work for him. Mark is well aware of the irony, but isn't bitter about it — now he understands what was going through Sinclair and Darkwing's heads when they crossed the line, and agrees that they deserved another chance.
- Killed Off for Real: Conquest, although it took two tries, Rus Livingston, Thaedus, Magmaniac, and possibly the Mauler Twins, since both clones were killed by Oliver, though a single "Mauler" (with the same abilities but a radically different personality) has appeared since.
- Apparently half the Guardians of the Globe and a number of former Invincible villains during Robot's purge.
- Knight Templar: Cecil.
- Large Ham: Doc Seismic's villainy is of the "old school, histrionic" variety.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In an issue where Mark is bounced from dimension to dimension by Angstrom Levy, he meets Batman and ends up on worlds similar to Y: The Last Man and The Walking Dead, the latter of which Kirkman writes.
- And, of course, when Allen the Alien's flight back to Earth interrupts the travel of the almost-Enterprise-D. The crew of which became recurring characters up to and during the Viltrumite War.
- Legacy Character: Aquarus, War Woman, and Darkwing of the original Guardians of the Globe all had someone take up their mantle after their deaths. Aquarus probably deserves a special mention, because the position comes hand in hand with being king of Atlantis — there will more or less always be one. War Woman is an unusual case, as the original was a superhero, while her successor is a mass-murdering supervillain. After the death of Rex Splode, Robot took his name to honor him.
- Logical Weakness: Viltrumites are generally Nigh Invulnerable, but sonic attacks can hurt them a lot. Robot explains that this is because to fly under their own power, they must have complicated and delicate inner ears, for balance.
- Mad Scientist: They don't come madder than D.A. Sinclair, who would perform painful operations on living people to turn them into superstrong zombielike minions. He'd tear out their vocal cords so they wouldn't be able to scream when he cut one of their arms off and such.
- Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor: Both Omni-Man and Allen the Alien have interspecies romances with plenty of sex, so this trope is implied, though not explicitly shown.
- However, during the Viltrumite War, the human superhero Techjacket mentions the he and his sorta-girlfriend (a member of the Geldarian race who gave him his suit) do not have "compatible parts."
- Mayfly-December Romance: Between Nolan Grayson (Omni-Man) and Debbie Grayson. Possibly also between Mark and Eve, unless her powers make her functionally immortal.
- Almost exaggerated with the union that gave birth to Oliver, which was between Nolan and an alien mantis-woman whose people have significantly shorter lifespans than even humans.
- Meaningful Name: Atom Eve, Dupli-Kate, Multi-Paul, Rex Splode, Shrinking Ray.
- No, not Invincible. Which he lampshades on occasion.
- Me's a Crowd: Dupli-Kate, and her villainous twin brother Multi-Paul. Interestingly, it's made explicit that each of them has a "number zero" body far from the "number one" which most people (readers and characters alike) think is the original, as a sort of backup copy in case something bad happens to all of the rest of them. This comes in handy, of course, when the Lizard League somehow manage to kill all of the bodies Kate creates to fight them, along with Shrinking Ray.
- Messianic Archetype: Curiously enough, Battle Beast is this for his own people. He brought his planet peace and utopia... but in doing so, became addicted to battle and left to seek out worthy opponents. Apparently they still hope for his return.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Omni-Man's family and friends seem to be more upset about him lying to them than him killing thousands of innocent people. Even though Omni-Man has a Heel-Face Turn later on, he doesn't seem to feel remorse about those deaths either. Of course it's possible this issue will be dealt with in future Invincible stories.
- However, the deaths were a consequence of the battle between Invincible and Omni-Man, and not something Omni-Man intended to do... at the time. Omni-Man seemed to be more apathetic about the lives lost, seeing their deaths as proof of his and Invincible's superiority and why choosing to rule over them was the "right" course of action.
- Mood Whiplash: Starts off as a lighthearted teenage superhero comic, then, all of a sudden Omni-Man kills off the Guardians of the Globe in a particularly gruesome fashion; from that point, the series continues to bounce back and forth between light-hearted and somber. Kirkman has said he deliberately started it out light-hearted just to make Omni-Man's murder of the Guardians that much more shocking.
- Issue 80 contains funny scenes about William's coming out, a hilarious lampshading of Cut Lex Luthor a Check, a jab at the DC reboot (and at Kirkman's own difficulties keeping a proper release schedule) and Las Vegas and everyone in it getting utterly vaporized. Ow, my neck...
- Most Common Super Power/Breast Expansion: Parodied. Eve did herself a boob job on the verge on death using her powers. It is that important for a female superhero.
- And Knockout in the Capes, Inc backups wears Gag Boobs to help her image. Her boyfriend, a fellow member of Capes, points out that they're ridiculous, until she points out that her salary went way up after she started using them.
- Robot's purge of most of his the heroes during his takeover between the issues 111 to 114.
- Mundane Solution: His neutralization of Allen the Alien in issue #5.
- Myth Arc: Invincible and Allen's struggle against the Viltrumite Empire.
- My Brain Is Big: Angstrom Levy, much to his dismay.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Grand Regent Thragg. After learning that Omni-Man was the rightful ruler of the the Viltrumites, Thragg attempts to kill him. During the attack Thragg reveals the truth to Omni-Man, who responds telling Thragg he doesn't want to rule the Viltrumites. This attack draws the attention of the the Viltrumites who perform a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Thragg, sparring his life only at Omni-Man's insistence and subsequently place Omni-Man on the throne.
- No Endor Holocaust: Thadeus, Omni-Man, and Invincible end up destroying the entire planet Viltrum. Since there are no living Viltrumites on the planet, this is supposed to be a heroic act. But weren't there any other life forms living there? The subject is never brought up.
- Other than that, Invincible usually averts the No Endor Holocaust typical in many superhero comics: whenever there's a big battle that destroys buildings and levels cities, a large number of civilians die. One story arc even has the family of one those deceased civilians trying to avenge her by killing Invincible, who they view as being responsible for her death.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: the female members of the unnamed race whose king Omni-Man has become have these, despite clearly being insectoids. The fish people of Atlantis have them as well.
- Not So Invincible After All: Mark provides a Lampshade Hanging in issue #42:
"'I'm Invincible.' Ugh. I've got to stop using that line right before I get the snot beaten out of me."
- Not-So-Harmless Villain (Doc Seismic seems like a pushover, but he nearly took Invincible out in his first appearance. Then he engineered a plot to take out the world's heroes, which largely, to his surprise, succeeded in phase 1. Did we mention he utterly defeated Invincible in that same issue?
- The Lizard League. Even they admit they're seen as jokes...until the Guardians have to fight them for the first time without any of their heavy hitters. It doesn't go so well.
- Older Than They Look: Monster Girl and Robot are both in their late 30's but in the bodies of young adolescents due to one being a clone and the other deaging. After their stint in the Flaxan dimension, they're over 700 years old.
- Bulletproof, who appears to be roughly Mark's age, at one point claims to be almost 40 years old.
- Outside-Context Villain: The Battle Beast. He first appeared early in the series when Mark was possibly the strongest person on Earth, at a time when no Viltrumites other than Mark and Nolan had been seen, and was a apparently nothing but an Elite Mook for the issue's villain. Then he easily beat Mark nearly to death, and only retreated because he had expected a greater challenge. He has since come back to fight Viltrumites.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: In one issue, the main character faces a villain with the power to absorb force and kinetic energy; he wins by punching the bad guy until he's been overloaded with so much energy it travels through the floor, vaporizing his family and emotionally crippling him. This was NOT his intention.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Viltrumites apparently need nothing more to disguise themselves than a fake beard. To the point where the removal of a false beard is considered ultimate proof of Viltrumiteness.
- Power Perversion Potential: Dupli-Kate abuses it.
- Atom Eve also uses her powers to remove clothes... and place them, neatly folded, in a drawer. She's not irresponsible.
- Precision F-Strike: Issue 108 ends with one, following Robot's betrayal.
Mark: Holy fuck.
- Psycho Electro: Powerplex, who is genuinely out of his mind in his fanatical obsession with killing Invincible.
- Puberty Superpower
- Punch Clock Hero: The entire staff of Capes, Inc. Invincible himself becomes this shortly after severing ties with Cecil, Eve having set up Invincible, Inc. so he could support himself.
- Punny Name: Atom Evenote , Rex Splode, Dupli Kate, Multi Paul, Shrinking Ray.
- Puppeteer Parasite: the Sequids.
- Put on a Bus: Robot and Monster Girl in issue 71/the first issue of Guarding the Globe. They're back as of issue 82.
- Randomly Gifted: Mark inheriting powers was not a sure thing, and a few heroes manifest theirs spontaneously.
- Ray Gun: As a pastiche of old-timey pulp space heroes, Space Racer naturally carries one of these. Except his is more akin to a handheld Wave Motion Gun - it's a weapon so powerful that it can punch through anything made of matter, and is what enables Thaedus, Invincible, and Omni-Man to destroy the Viltrumite home world in a single blow.
- Reality Warper: Atom Eve.
- To be specific Atom Eve has the ability to alter molecules which provides a low-level form reality warping. Her powers tend to take a toll on her physically when she overuses them, because of that she tends to use her powers more like a Green Lantern Ring instead of using them a full power.
- Reconstruction: To a degree, the series is a reconstruction of superheroes, or maybe just of the Nineties Anti-Hero subgenre. The book is incredibly gory and bloody, yes, but that's just what would happen if a Flying Brick punched a normal person. Mark tries hard to be The Cape (without actually wearing one), and it's getting very hard to stick to his code of conduct, but he's still helping people because it's the right thing to do. He doesn't like or agree with Cecil Steadman, but he admits that with world-ending threats all over the place, Steadman is often the lesser evil. Storylines that would be Crisis Crossovers when published by other companies have the same long-lasting implications without the massive tie-ins and Kudzu Plots.
- Red Right Hand: The males of the Viltrumite race all have mustaches. With four exceptions, all of them are bent on galactic domination which they believe is their right due to their inherent superiority to the "lesser" races. In addition, the villain Conquest, second strongest warrior of the Viltrum empire until Mark kills him, has a mechanical hand.
- Required Secondary Powers: Notably averted, mostly, by Viltrumites and other characters with Super Strength. They rarely or never show super-anchoring, super-leverage, or the ability to keep large things from collapsing under their own weight. Viltrumites may be strong enough to lift trains, but a train would fall apart when lifted by something the size of a human. The biggest object anyone ever picks up are solid, like boulders, and even then we see rubble.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Averted, Robot can't really relate to his teammates' problems, and he doesn't particularly want to either. No Tin Man here, no sir.
- Somewhat subverted in that the visible Robot is actually being remote-controlled by the (horribly deformed and unable to survive outside of his nutrient tank) human who just doesn't relate to humanity, probably in part due to his superhuman intelligence and isolation. After being cloned into a new human body, he starts relating more.
- Royal Blood: A DNA test showed that Mark, and potentially his father and brother, are the long lost descendants of the old Viltrumite King of which Thragg is supposed to hand the throne over to when found. Thragg found out and killed the scientist that discovered it because he is enraged that Viltrum's most infamous traitors are the heirs to the throne. Eventually the truth does come out.
- Rule of Fun: A fairly recent issue had a fan write in asking why the Sequids go for an all out attack instead of guaranteeing victory by slowly infiltrating our society. Kirkman's answer? "Well that wouldn't make for a very fun comic, would it?"
- Screw Destiny: Invincible refuses to follow in his father's footsteps as a world conqueror.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: Subverted: Atom Eve was the only "good" subject. When the others escape, they try to kill her because of the Hell they were put through to live up to her. Her "family" dies... but at the end, she turns a picture of her real family into a picture of them.
- Shared Universe: Has fought villains from some of Robert Kirkman's other comics, and has teamed up with Zephyr Noble, Firebreather, & Shadow Hawk. In general, characters from Kirkman's other books (besides The Walking Dead) show up often — a few of them being major supporting characters, like Brit and Cecil (Brit), Tech Jacket and Donald (Tech Jacket), and Kid Thor and Knockout (Capes).
- An odd example; Invincible frequently guest-stars characters owned by other Image creators, like the Savage Dragon, and the series has a number of Heroes of Other Stories that clearly aren't main characters of the Invincible title but are created and owned by Kirkman himself. The series evokes a Shared Universe like Marvel or DC, but this one title does almost all the heavy lifting for it.
- Due to the whole "creator-owned" thing, Image as a whole does an odd variant of the shared universe: there's a slightly different "Image universe" for each creator, where the other creators' characters exist, but aren't as big a deal as they would be in their own universe.
- He also briefly crossed over with Spider-Man when Kirkman was writing Marvel Team-Up.
- Shout-Out: Each trade paperback is named after a different sitcom.
- In the first issue, Omni-Man's tailor said that he initially thought that Omni-Man's powers were solar-based, in an allusion to the character's similarities to Superman.
- Also in the first issue we see crooks in suits running away from a botched diamond heist.
- The Viltrumite Grand Regent bears a startling resemblence to Freddie Mercury.
- In the last issue of Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, just behind her picture frame is a chibi Atomic Robo figurine.
- The second issue features the Twin Pines Mall.
- Issue 97 has a panel with a woman cosplaying as Michonne leading around a "zombie" at a comic convention.
- One of the places visited by Angstrom Levy is a dimension where a virus killed all the Y chromosomes; i.e. the same ordeal Yorick survived in Y: The Last Man.
- Show Within a Show: Mark's favorite comic is Science Dog.
- Silence, You Fool!: Monarch Prime, the Immortal.
- Simultaneous Arcs: The Sequid/Lizard League arc.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Immortal. He always acts like he's the most powerful hero on Earth, but, as Invincible points out, he is actually fairly weak in comparison to the other Flying Bricks in the series.
- He could be the most powerful non-Viltrumite on Earth and he would still look like a Small Name, Big Ego, considering that the protagonist is a Viltrumite.
- You know it's bad when even the non-flying brick heroes start kicking his ass.
- Although a lot of his 'egotism' stems from the fact that the Immortal is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and has Who Wants to Live Forever? and the other negative immortality tropes in full play.
- Status Quo Is God: Typically subverted; the comic tends to have overarching plotlines that change and advance the series direction. Played straight with Invincible's death in issue 100.
- Stealth Pun: The Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe put forth the idea that minor villain the Elephant has total recall, a perfectly photographic memory. That's right. The Elephant never forgets.
- Superpowerful Genetics: Every hybrid child of a Viltrumite will inherit their powers. But more than that, their genes are explicitly "more dominant than dominant", often making their children have a higher percentage of Viltrumite genes than their other parent's. Humans are already genetically similar enough that human/Viltrumite pairings produce hybrids that are nearly 100% Viltrumite.
- Super Senses: Invincible has to keep reminding people that he doesn't have these.
- Doesn't have super-hearing, at least. His father regularly reacts to threats further away than Mark can notice, although that might just be Cecil giving him heads-ups, and Mark tends to be the first to see things when flying.
- Super Soldier: Whatever purpose D.A. Sinclair originally intended for his Re-Animen, this is what they became once Cecil hired him. He's even managed to make ones out of the dead alternate Invincibles from the Invincible War.
- Take That: In response to the promotional campaign for Marvel's "Heroic Age" event (which spawned some Memetic Mutation), a series of similar images were released depicting various Image characters joining the Guardians of the Globe - with plenty of snark toward the Wolverine Publicity used by Marvel's campaign.
- Issue 80 contains an obvious Take That at the DC reboot. Mark goes to his local comic shop to catch up after returning from space and is surprised to see so many books have been relaunched. The clerk derisively snarls that "these companies have no integrity." Also made fun of is Kirkman's own difficulty meeting deadlines.
- When the Guardians of the Globe are called together in issue 7, most of them are in the middle of something, or just finishing up taking down a villain, so the call comes across as a bit of an annoyance. But Aquarius, the Aquaman expy, is asleep on his throne and his reaction is, "finally, some action!"
- Tearjerker - Invincible fighting his dad
Omni-Man: You will live to see the end of this civilization! Everyone and everything you know will be gone! WHAT WILL YOU HAVE AFTER 500 YEARS?!
Invincible: You, dad. I'd still have you.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Magmaniac and Tether Tyrant.
- Took a Level in Badass: Allen the Alien. Literally.
- Transplant: Many characters from Kirkman's other Image comics have become minor characters in Invincible once their own series have ended. Most notable examples are Tech Jacket and Brit.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Post Heel Turn Robot successfully takes over Earth, killing many regular characters, converting others to his cause and convincing Mark to accept this is for the better.
- The Plague: The main one infected the Viltrumite population killing 99.999% before a vaccine could spare the rest.
- Later after the end of Viltrumite war with most of the Viltrumite's hiding on Earth, the Coalition of Planets decides to recreate a stronger one and try again, despite the fact that a majority of the Earth's population would also probably die due to their genetic similarity to Viltrumites.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Flip-flopped: after a long absence, Nolan/Omni-Man returns determined to make his son proud of him. It's going to take a lot of doing.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Robot, after his time as emperor of an alien world, takes over the Earth, slaughtering much of the cast in the process. He uses his power to bring about world peace.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: After having both his arms broken, Mark beats Conquest to near-death by using his face as a hammer.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The issue is raised multiple times, mostly by Nolan - especially considering that aside from Conquest, Thaedus, and Thragg, he could well be one of the oldest characters in the series. Viltrumites live so long that even romantic links with other Viltrumites dissolve over time, and to love a "lesser" species initially seemed unthinkable to him.
- The Worf Effect: Battle Beast is casually swatted away the second he tries to attack Thragg. He was actually assumed dead for some time after this, but eventually turned up alive.
- He is ABSOLUTELY keen on taking another shot at him in issue 106.
- Artistic License - Geography: The secret base of the Lizard League is supposedly located in the Everglades. Surrounded by mountains. Uh huh.
- You No Take Candle: Kursk, in the few instances he's seen speaking English. He appears to be learning, because his English has improved dramatically the second time he's heard to speak it, but his grammar and syntax are still very poor. Octoboss' English is probably worse, though; you often need to really use your imagination to understand what he's trying to say.
Octoboss: Advance, Squidmen! They am source of all Earth weapon and technology. We take control and have what they have! Then, apparently, us can arrive home!
Squidman: <Why do you insist on speaking to us in with their words when you don't know their language well?>