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Western Animation / Invincible (2021)

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"It's about time."
Mark Grayson

Invincible is a 2021 adult animated superhero series based on the comic series of the same name by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. The series is developed for Prime Video, and is a rare instance of an animated show utilizing an hour-long format.

Set in a world of superheroes, where Nolan "Omni-Man" Grayson (J. K. Simmons) is seen as the most powerful of all, his son Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) tries to live a life as an Ordinary High-School Student before he's drawn into the world of superheroics himself. Mark realizes that he's finally inherited his father's powers after his seventeenth birthday, and becomes the superhero Invincible as he works to master them while balancing his two lives.

However, an unthinkable tragedy soon strikes the superhero community, and Mark is forced into a dangerous position that he doesn't fully understand. With his new superhero allies, Mark quickly learns that there is much more to the world that he's inherited than meets the eye — and that there are twists and turns that will make him question the true nature of his role on the planet.

Invincible boasts a rather impressive voice cast; in addition to Simmons and Yeun, it stars Sandra Oh as Mark's mother Debbie, Zazie Beetz as his love interest Amber, Walton Goggins as GDA boss Cecil Steadman, Gillian Jacobs as superheroine Atom Eve, Jason Mantzoukas as her hothead ex-partner Rex Splode, Zachary Quinto as resident smart guy Robot, Khary Payton as veteran hero Black Samson, Mark Hamill as supe outfitter Art Rosenbaum, Clancy Brown as demonic detective Damien Darkblood, Kevin Michael Richardson as the Mauler twins, Mahershala Ali as superpowered gangster Titan and Seth Rogen as alien explorer Allen, with Jon Hamm, Ross Marquand, Chris Diamantopoulos, Djimon Hounsou, Jeffrey Donovan, Grey DeLisle, Fred Tatasciore and Reginald Veljohnson in various other roles.

The series premiered on March 26, 2021, with its first three episodes, with subsequent episodes dropping every Friday. On April 29, it was then announced that the show had been renewed for second and third seasons. Robert Kirkman has indicated that he believes that the series could have anywhere between five and seven seasons to adapt the full story from the comics.

The second season is set to premiere on November 3, 2023, just in time for the comic's 20th anniversary. New additions to the voice cast for Season 2 include Sterling K. Brown, Rhea Seehorn, Ben Schwartz, Ella Purnell, Phil LaMarr and Peter Cullen, among others. Ahead of the full season, a special Interquel episode focused on Atom Eve hit Prime Video on July 21, 2023 as a surprise for that year's San Diego Comic-Con.

This series provides examples of:

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  • 555: The area or network code of Amber's phone number.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the Justice League cartoon, J. K. Simmons played General Eiling, one of the leaders of Project Cadmus, a secret government organization intended to defend Earth from superheroes in case they ever turned against them, and Eiling was a fierce believer in Cadmus's cause to the point that he saw himself on par with Superman. Here, J. K. Simmons plays a Superman expy who earns the suspicion of the Cadmus expy, and rightly so. There's also the fact that both Eiling and Omni-Man eventually go on a rampage on civilians, and superheroes come to try and stop them without success as they prove to be much stronger — only to have a Heel Realization and flee away.
    • Steven Yeun voices Mark Grayson/Invincible, a Spiderman-esque superhero. This wouldn't be the only time he voiced a hero like this. Just ask Nathan Park/Wingspan.
    • Episode 6 opens with an egotistical burping alcoholic voiced by Justin Roiland, whose most famous creation/role is an egotistical burping alcoholic.
    • Titan is a semi-villainous Luke Cage expy voiced by Mahershala Ali, who also plays the villainous Cottonmouth on Netflix's Luke Cage adaptation. He's also shown to be a bit of a family man, not unlike Aaron Davis.
    • Battle Beast is fittingly voiced by Michael Dorn who is most iconic for playing another Proud Warrior Race Guy from space. Bonus points as this time he's the one delivering The Worf Effect to people, not receiving it.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In Invincible #7, when Omni-Man lured the Guardians of the Globe into their home base and violently murdered them, it took Omni-Man only a few seconds to kill them all. In this series, the Guardians of the Globe actually put up a fight with Omni-Man to the point where they wound him. Though Omni-Man still wins the battle and the Guardians of the Globe are killed, he was so hurt that he faints.
      • Aquarus was a total Gag Character in the original series. Here he proves to be a sincere and formidable fighter.
    • Damien Darkblood seems much more capable here than in the comics, where he was largely a joke and got laughed off when he showed up and revealed it was Omni-Man who killed the Guardians of the Globe... months after that had become common knowledge. Here, he seems to be suspicious of Omni-Man from the get-go and actively investigates the matter. In fact, he figured it out so much earlier that he had to be Reassigned to Antarctica in order to not interfere with Cecil's plans. The news articles seen shows that he has at least one case where he ended up vindicated after having his theories laughed off.
  • Adaptational Intelligence:
    • Debbie in the comics doesn't realize that Nolan is bad news until she sees him and Mark fighting on TV, and even then she blames Mark for him leaving despite him doing nothing wrong. Here, Debbie begins putting together the clues even before Damien Darkblood gives her a push. Eventually she finds out the complete truth with the help of Art and even confronts Nolan about it, then refuses to hear any of his excuses before attempting to find Mark.
    • Amber was somewhat of a Dumb Blonde in the comics, who never so much as suspected Mark of being Invincible. Here, however, Amber figured it out on her own and months ago - although it happens off screen.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Rex Splode was already a Jerkass in the comics, but it is more pronounced in the show where he is more abrasive and cowardly when it comes to fighting crime. He also has zero remorse towards letting a bus of innocent people be injured/killed, showing that he cares more about being seen as a superhero than actually saving lives, but he gets better.
    • In the comics, Omni-Man was Evil All Along at the start, but kept that part of himself completely separate from his superhero and civilian lives. Here, Omni-Man becomes more cold and domineering after Mark gets his powers, openly displays apathy around his family despite "losing" his colleagues and shows clear signs of narcissism and disregard for individual people's lives. He also ignores a dragon attacking innocent people simply because he's on holiday with his wife and watches as Mark is nearly killed by Machine Head's mercenaries and doesn't lift a finger to help him out despite Mark being on the brink of death.
      • While battling Mark in the comics, Omni-Man lampshades the thousands of deaths (though little is implicitly shown during the fight) in collateral damage and his general indifference to mankind. In episode 8, Nolan goes out of his way to break Mark's will through casual killing and shows just how horrifyingly callous he is to humans, such as crushing the skull of the jet pilot, deliberately holding his son immobile as they collide with a subway train and make him watch the passengers be rendered into mincemeat, and making a point of punching him twice through a cruise ship.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • The Immortal was quite condescending and smug when dealing with criminals in the comics compared to the show where he is far more benevolent and lacks the Hidden Disdain Reveal towards Omni-Man, even believing that he was being controlled when he killed them.
    • Titan in the comics simply wanted Invincible's help usurping Machine Head to rule his criminal empire under a misguided belief that it would be better under his authority. Here, his motivations are much more sympathetic as he wants to provide for his wife and daughter, plus appears to genuinely care about the people in his neighborhood and city.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Nolan aka Omni-Man gets a massive dose of this in the finale. Yes, in the comic he still killed the Guardians of the Globe, destroyed a city while fighting Mark and intended to enslave Earth for Viltrum — but he was still deeply reluctant to betray his family and the world he spent so much time on. In the comic, Nolan was still saving lives as a superhero right up until the Immortal attacks him in revenge and forces Nolan to drop the act. In the show, Nolan’s Tragic Villain nature is offset by his brutality and cruelty being dialled up, as once Debbie learns the truth and leaves him, he immediately starts murdering people. While fighting Mark, Nolan is also much crueler than his comic counterpart, deconstructing his son's heroic ideals and protection of humanity by going out of his way to kill everyone Mark tries to save, even using Mark as a bludgeon to reduce an entire train to a thin red paste. He does ultimately regret hurting Mark, but much more after the fact than his comic counterpart, only realizing the impact of his actions after he's very nearly beaten Mark to death.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Much like the adaptation of Kirkman's other famous work, the show shuffles things around to the point that certain key events happen at different times and characters can end up a part of arcs and stories they previously were not around for or cut from arcs they were a part of. There is also a bit more backstory, agency, and even competence given to smaller characters.
    • A change that occurred in-universe. In the comics, Mark's favorite comic is called Science Dog. In the show, his favorite comic is Seance Dog. It seems the character went from being a scientist to a wizard due to copyright issues.
    • Episode Six, You Look Kinda Dead, changes quite a few things from the comics. D.A. Sinclair and the Reanimen appear much earlier, Amber wasn't there or even Mark's girlfriend at the time, and Mark's reason for wanting to go to college is completely different. Also William's hatred of nicknames is never brought up.
    • When Mark finally reveals his identity to Amber, instead of her being star struck and forgiving him for "abandoning" her during the Reanimen attack, she instead reveals she had figured it out weeks ago on her own and cuts ties with Mark briefly over not trusting her with this information.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Black Samson and his power suit. It follows the same route of the comics that Samson lost his powers and had the suit built, and rejoined the Guardians under Robot's leadership. Left out was after he built his suit, his butler Sanford stole the suit to try to kill the Guardians for "firing" Samson. Sanford never got the chance as Omni-Man killed them.
    • The show's tone is altered somewhat from that of the early arcs in the comics, which sought to draw more laughs and "edgy" status out of Vulgar Humor that has fallen sharply out of fashion since the early 2010s. It notably removes a prominent Running Gag regarding the word "gay" as a pejorative term (most notably a Running Gag of how Mark carried men while flying).
    • The timeframe in which D.A. Sinclair can turn someone into a cyborg, the Reanimen, is vastly shortened. In the comics, it took Sinclair months to turn his victims into Reanimen. In the show, Sinclair is able to turn Rick into a cyborg within the span of a few hours, a hard contrast to the comics where Rick is missing for months.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several elements that never happened in the comics get shown off in the show.
    • We actually get to see Omni-Man and the Guardians of the Globe in action with a sequence at the White House and the full sequence of when he kills them all.
    • Titan's personal life is explained as his motivation for his criminal activities, as he has a wife and daughter.
    • The Mauler Twins' cloning method was first shown off in the show.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The entire early story arc of Mark and Eve encountering their teacher who has been turning popular students into human bombs, basically making him Invincible's first real supervillain, is missing. His storyline is briefly alluded to in a background news report.
    • Bulletproof, a Guardian of the Globe that did not make the initial tryouts but was later added due to his ability of flight, does not appear in events he was there for in the comics. Such as attempting to beatdown Battle Beast alongside Black Samson and losing horribly.
      • Similarly, because Black Samson and Monster Girl are hospitalized and recover around the same time, Monster Girl's bout of using the former's power armor in place of her own powers is cut completely.
      • There is also Magnattack, a man with metal powers and the most powerful of Machine Head's goons after Battle Beast, doesn't appear as well.
  • Age-Down Romance: Monster Girl was a full grown adult, now in the body of a pre-teen. Robot, an adult, begins to have feelings for her. He eventually transfers his mind from his true, decrepit body to a cloned body that is about her age.
  • Alien Invasion: The All-Out Attack appears to be a periodic threat to Earth from multiple alien races which the superheroes always fight off.
    • It's revealed at the end of the first season that Omni-Man is the all-out/infiltration combo, as his original mission was to infiltrate Earth and weaken the planet's defenses before annexing it for the Viltrumite Empire, and it's indicated that the rest of his species are actively doing this to other worlds across the cosmos.
    • Mars gets invaded by the Sequids' All-Out Attack.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The series has various science-fictional and supernatural creatures whom are essentially on the good guys' side, including a fish person and a literal, came-from-Hell demon, but aliens? Not all of the aliens we see onscreen, but certainly more of them than not, tend to be antagonistic or outright monstrous.
    • The Flaxans are your typical alien invaders, dropping in the middle of a populated area and killing as many people as possible, and they go out of their way to try again and again for decades to conquer Earth out of little more than spite at their past defeats.
    • The Sequids are a horde of hive minded alien organisms that, upon gaining a sentient host to focus their hive mind, set about swarming over and overrunning an entire planet's civilization while grinning and laughing about it.
    • The Martians, barring Martian Man, are far from the worst aliens in the series, but they're somewhat xenophobic and ignorant, and they're immediately willing to murder foreigners on their planet for the justifiable reason of preventing the aforementioned Sequids from completely overrunning their civilization.
    • Battle Beast is a bloodthirsty alien psychopath who enjoys brutalizing other combatants to near-death, savagely maiming Invincible, Black Samson and Monster Girl.
    • And Nolan/Omni-Man, the Superman expy who is the sole member of the original Guardians of the Globe not originally from our solar system? He ruthlessly murders the rest of his friends and colleagues; because he actually hails from a race of totalitarian intergalactic conquerors whom slaughtered half of their own population just to weed out weakness within their ranks, whom commit genocide on any planets that resist colonization, and whom — according to the benevolent Allen the Alien — blow up occupied planets if they're about to lose them to their enemies. Nolan/Omni-Man was sent to conquer Earth single-handedly, although the love he formed for Debbie and Mark during his infiltration has compromised him massively.
  • Aliens Speaking English:
    • Based on Allen the Alien's device, it's safe to say that English is either Allen's native tongue or the official language of the Coalition of Planets. Though considering he's speaking to Mark telepathically, it's possible it's simply being translated into a language he understands.
    • Used as a joke that the Martians speak a language identical to English.
    Mark: speak English?
    Martian Soldier: We speak Martian!
  • Alliterative Name:
    • All of the superhero teams are alliterative: Guardians of the Globe, Teen Team and Fight Force.
    • Additionally, several Guardians members have alliterative names, such as War Woman, Green Ghost, Martian Man, and Red Rush.
    • Not to mention Damien Darkblood, Demon Detective and Battle Beast.
  • All There in the Script: The names of some of the TV-original characters, like Throwbolt or the head Flaxan being called Slash, is only mentioned in the trivia viewable on Amazon Prime.
  • And Starring: The Season 2 trailer focuses a lot on the slew of guest stars, but ends with the announcement of legendary Transformers actor Peter Cullen joining the cast as Thaedus.
  • Anyone Can Die: Would you expect anything less from the creator of The Walking Dead? The end of the first episode throws Plot Armor right out of the window full speed when the Guardians of the Globe are all brutally murdered by Omni-Man. The second episode drives this point home with a large number of civilians dying, with Mark learning the lesson that no matter how hard you try not Everybody Lives.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Happens during the final fight of Season 1. Having just beaten Mark half to death, Omni-Man asks his son what will he have after a few centuries, when all his friends and possibly Earth itself will have been long gone. Mark simply replies that he will still have his dad, meaning that even after the thorough thrashing he's given his son and the countless lives that have been slain by his hand, Mark still loves his father. Omni-Man leaves the planet in tears moments later.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics:
    • In the first episode, Mark and Nolan each throw a softball around the planet. This isn't impossibly fast (at lightspeed it takes only 1/8th of a second to travel around the planet), but playing catch like that is impossible. Any object thrown fast enough to travel around the world in a couple of seconds wouldn't go around the world: it would fly away from the planet in an almost straight trajectory. Also, they hear the ball coming even though the ball would have to be traveling far faster than the speed of sound. Also-also, the softball would be destroyed by the extreme pressure of moving that fast through the atmosphere.
    • The Mars Expedition ends with Invincible leading four astronauts—each carrying a 200 pound astronaut suit (which weighs about 80 pounds on Mars)—away from a horde of Martians troops on horseback (well, alien-horse-thing-back). The astronauts outrun the Martians ... somehow.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The series has a bright, colorful art style akin to the earlier seasons of Young Justice (2010) but it's incredibly violent and visceral just like its source material.
  • Avengers Assemble: The first episode ends with the various members of the Guardians of the Globe called away from their lives to assemble at their headquarters, where they are all killed by Omni-Man.
  • Bait the Dog: Omni-Man comes off as a well-meaning father to Mark as well as husband to Debbie, before he ends the first episode bringing together the Guardians of the Globe and violently murdering them.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In a flashback in episode 7, we see The Immortal was Abraham Lincoln.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Monster Girl and Rex Splode get into a fight almost immediately after meeting, but Robot reveals later that Monster Girl has a crush on Rex. For his part, Rex is creeped out at the thought of sexual tension with someone who looks 12.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Cecil accuses demons of viewing the world as such, while he needed things to be a bit gray.
  • Blessed with Suck: Monster Girl's powers are the result of an unspecified curse that allows her to turn into a large goblin-like creature at will. However, every time she does, the curse makes her younger. If she uses it in just the right amount, she could effectively become immortal, but she looks to be 12 rather than her actual age of 24 by the time she appears in the show, showing that she's been using her powers too much.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Even more so than the comic book (an outstandingly amazing feat considering that the comic book itself was extremely gory), since we get to see all the gore in full motion. The scene with Omni-Man killing the Guardians is much longer than the couple of pages in the comic and, therefore, has more time to show their deaths in every brutal detail. Especially with Red Rush, Darkwing, and Aquarus, the latter of which gets his head bashed so hard, it resembles hamburger meat.
  • Blood Knight: Battle Beast, who came to Earth on Machine Head's promise that he would be fighting worthy opponents.
  • Bookends:
    • Atom Eve's personal storyline in episode 3 begins with her walking in on her boyfriend (Rex) with her team-mate Dupli-Kate. It ends with her going to see Mark, whom she's friends with, and stumbling on him making out with Amber. Notably, her relationships with them led to the different ways she reacted.
    • In a sick sense, the first and last episodes both revolve around Omni-Man training Mark.
  • Brick Joke: Mark first learns about his powers when he accidentally tosses a bag of trash sky-high. The following episode begins with that trash bag landing in the United Kingdom. For bonus points, the characters in the UK were brought up in a Seinfeldian Conversation in the first episode's first scene.
    Son: I didn't know they had a Burger Mart here.
  • Butt-Monkey: The superhero team Fight Force is regularly derided by other heroes despite the team never being seen on screen.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Played for Drama. Despite Omni-Man being willing to kill the Guardians of the Globe along with countless civilians, as well as inflict a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Mark for refusing to join him in conquering Earth for the Viltrum Empire, Omni-Man is unwilling to kill his wife Debbie and his friend Art Rosenbaum. He also cannot bring himself to kill Mark after beating him, especially after Mark declares he would still have him as his father even after outliving everyone else he cared about, which leads him to abandon his post and leave Earth out of guilt. While this does prove that he cares about his family on some level, the fact that he still harmed them horribly through his actions makes it clear that they're not happy about being spared. Debbie and Art are last shown in Season 1 drowning their sorrows, not knowing if they understood the real Nolan Grayson and questioning why he spared them in the first place. Mark is left heartbroken by his father's actions and remains conflicted about him despite the atrocities he's committed.
  • Cape Punk: The show presents a realistic take on a world loaded with superheroes and supervillains, especially on a young man who has just entered this world.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Catching the Speedster: Flash Expy Red Rush falls victim to Omni-Man after pressing the offensive one time too many. It leads directly to his death.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Monster Girl has a bad case. If she regulated her use of her power (apparently once a week), she could effectively freeze her aging and become immortal. Instead, she uses her powers so much that she's turned back the clock 12 years and now lives as a child. Even worse, she joins a superhero group, where she'll be responsible for using her powers whenever they need her.
  • Clark Kenting: Several superheroes do nothing to cover their face like Omni-Man and Atom Eve, yet it took Mark seeing the latter in person to realize she's a popular girl from his school. According to Eve, this is psychological rather than some superpower:
    Eve: If you don't expect to see a superhero at your school, you don't see superheroes at your school.
  • Clothing Damage: Mark/Invincible's costume at times takes just as much of a beating as he does — and he takes some brutal beatings. Titan makes sure to take his non-invincible clothes excluding his pants off when he's on the job.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The show excludes several minor events within the bigger arcs, preferring to actually expand solely on the bigger and more important plot threads. This leads to a more streamlined narrative without getting side-tracked. A perfect contrast would be the expansion of Omni-Man's whole arc, at the expense of making build-ups like Robot's deeper motives, happen faster and within Omni-Man's bigger overarching plot thread.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: A few examples.
    • Rex Splode is based on Gambit, who is known for his charming suave, while Rex is known for being a bad-tempered jerkass. Though as of Episode 7 he seems to be getting nicer.
    • Todd represents the classic Spider-Man bully Flash Thompson, but he lacks any of Flash's redeeming traits while ramping up the Bully Brutality.
    • Titan is inspired by Luke Cage, but while Luke is an ex-delinquent who turned his life around and has a very strong sense of honor, Titan is a villain to the last and is not above manipulating a rookie superhero into helping him take over a criminal organization.
    • And of course, there's Omni-Man, a clear case of Beware the Superman.
    • Inverted with The Immortal, a heroic version of Vandal Savage.
  • Crapsack World: Despite the bright art style and color palette, the show's version of Earth regularly endures attacks from vicious alien civilizations, and the city in which Mark and most of the main characters live is dominated by crime and an assorted array of powerful and vengeful supervillains.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mark finds himself on the receiving end of these a lot in the first season. Most notably against Battle Beast and, of course, Omni-man.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Or at least give him a job. After arresting D.A. Sinclair, Cecil comments Sinclair has done amazing, if horrifying, work with the cyborg technology. In Episode 7, Cecil has Reanimen attack Omni-Man, and Sinclair is shown working for Cecil, though still in custody.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: At the start of the first episode, we see the Guardians of the Globe in an action sequence that wasn't in the original comic. At the end of it, we see the various members of the team during their everyday lives: Red Rush is trying to console his girlfriend on a date because of her issue with the fact that he'll often dash away to stop supervillains in the middle of conversations, War Woman is an Honest Corporate Executive, Martian Man is friends with a young girl who is clearly very poor and possibly homeless, Darkwing is apprehending criminals, Green Ghost is doing a photoshoot, The Immortal is defeating a supervillain, and Aquarus is bored in his underwater kingdom. All of them are called away from what they are doing to take care of an emergency. And then they are all brutally killed by Omni-Man.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Mark's father explains that flying is like this, comparing it to learning to walk and to balance yourself without even thinking about it. Initially, Mark needs to focus on what he wants to do and where to go but eventually it'll become second nature to him.
  • Dramatic Irony: Rex cheats on Eve, claiming it was "obvious" that something was going on between her and Mark. Not only did Mark back off from asking her out when he learned of their relationship, but his storyline for that episode was about balancing dating a civilian (Amber) and being a superhero.
  • Driving Question: Trying to solve the question of "Why did Omni-Man kill the Guardians?" is a major plot point.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Multi-Paul, Dupli-Kate's twin brother, appears as a prisoner in Season 1, Episode 3.
    • Season 1, Episode 8 sees appearances from General Kregg, Conquest and Thula much earlier than they originally appeared as part of the montage showing Viltrum becoming a warrior society; on top of that it also shows Titan's initiation with The Order, through Mister Liu's appearance.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Omni-Man murdering the Guardians of the Globe just goes to demonstrate what sort of show Invincible is.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Cecil already knows, or at least suspects, that Omni-Man is directly responsible for the Guardians' deaths. He wants to at least know the reason before making his move, which can't happen if Damien Darkblood continues to investigate the incident. Such is the reason why Cecil banished him to Hell.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Every time Damien Darkblood is seen, the air turns cold and small things, like plants, freeze.
  • Evolving Credits: The title screen in the first episode comes near the end of the episode, and is pristine blue with yellow font, representing the main character's costume. Every episode afterwards adds a little more blood to the title. 80% of it is covered in blood by the end of the season.
  • Expy: Many of the superheroes have parallels to pre-existing superheroes in comics. How closely they relate to their counterparts, though, is up for debate. See the sub-page for more details.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Steve shoots one of the Mauler Twins in the eye, and he spends the rest of the fight with the Guardians with his eye shut and bleeding. By his next appearance, his eye is better.
    • Red Rush has his left eye slowly (well, from his perspective, anyway) pushed out as Omni-Man crushes his head. Cecil's forces step on the discarded eye when they charge into Guardians base.
    • The Flaxan leader gets hit by a piece of rubble that scars the right side of his face, taking out his right eye. This scar becomes the feature that distinguishes him from the other Flaxans.
    • The Immortal jams his thumbs into Omni-Man's eyes to gouge them out. The Immortal getting ripped in half before he can finish the deed mixed with Omni-Man's Super-Toughness means he fails to do any lasting damage and merely leaves his eyes bloodshot.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: Kate's cheating with Rex comes off as this since she didn't even check his story with Eve first before hooking up with him.
  • Final Solution: To stop the Flaxans from invading Earth, Omni-Man invades their home dimension and proceeds to totally destroy their homeworld, taking out most of their civilization in less than a minute (in our reality, at least). It's a complete curb-stomp battle. However, he leaves enough alive to send him back to Earth, and the Season 1 finale reveals that the survivors are still planning to return, now just to get revenge on Omni-Man.
  • First-Episode Twist: The first episode plays out like a standard story in which an established superhero helps his son become a superhero himself. Then it ends with the older superhero violently murdering his allies, the Guardians of the Globe. The Saturday morning cartoon visuals and lighter tone help leave a bigger impact after witnessing the bloody, gory massacre.
  • Flying Brick:
    • Omni-Man and Invincible's power sets, although unlike Superman, they lack other powers like super-senses and heat vision.
    • The Immortal is also a flying brick, with Super-Strength, endurance and flight. He's apparently a better fighter than Omni-Man, but not as strong or tough.
  • Foreshadowing: While destroying the Flaxans civilization, Omni-Man tells them: "Earth isn't yours to conquer!" That's right, it's not theirs to conquer — the Viltrumites are the ones who will do it.

  • Gender Bender: Monster Girl is female while in human form, and male as a monster.
  • Gender Flip: Green Ghost and Shrinking Ray are both women here.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Mauler twins have Super-Strength and endurance as well as genius-level intellects.
  • The Ghost: Fight Force are a running gag in the series, but are never seen on camera.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: In the "Atom Eve" special, Brandyworth was hired by a government organization to create a superbeing. When it came time for the girl to be born, the mother begs him to give the baby a normal life, before dying. Brandyworth gives the baby to a couple who had just lost their own baby in childbirth, then, years later, when the girl's powers start to manifest, implores her not to use them, lest she attract attention from the government.
  • Good is Not Nice: Rex Splode may be a superhero, but that doesn't stop him from cheating on his girlfriend, antagonizing everyone around him, and complaining at every opportunity.
  • Gorn: It's used to shocking effect at the end of the first episode, in which the Guardians of the Globe are killed in gruesome, disturbing ways after a generally bloodless episode preceding it. The violence in the series amps up from here illustrating the damage superhuman abilities can do to the body.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In the Season 1 finale, Omni-Man holds up Mark in front of an oncoming train. Mark's invulnerable body acts like a brick wall against the train and all of its passengers, covering Mark in blood and guts as their bodies are splattered against his by the train's forward inertia.
  • Groin Attack: Amber does this to Todd to stop him further beating on Mark.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Mark's mother is human, while his father is Viltrumite.
  • Hive Mind: The sequids, a race of three-legged squid creatures, have a weak one linking them together. Bonding with a more sophisticated creature, like a human, allows them to organize and ravage the land.
  • HULK MASH!-Up: Monster Girl is a Super Gender-Bender version.
  • Immortal Apathy: In Omni-Man's Motive Rant, he explains that humans don't have any sentimental value to him because his species will outlive them by thousands of years.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Viltrumites age extremely slowly, and the speed at which they age decreases over time. Omni-Man is shown to be same early-middle-age when he arrived on Earth 20 years ago that he is now. This is played very darkly, as Omni-Man comments how little of his life his time as the compassionate protector of Earth represents.
  • Interspecies Romance: Omni-Man and his wife, Debbie. Technically Mark and Amber too since he's a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: The eulogy for the Guardians of the Globe that is broadcasted all over the world is held on a sunny day, but their actual funeral, held in a secret location to avoid problems, features the typical grey skies and pouring rain.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Episode 3 sees a character with an uncanny resemblance to Saitama from One-Punch Man first attending the Global Guardians funeral and then trying out for the new Global Guardians being overseen by Robot. During an AMA, Robert Kirkman joked this character was called "Two Punch Man".
  • Lighter and Softer: The "Atom Eve" episode is not completely without blood or Body Horror, but these elements are noticeably toned down compared to the main series.
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: The comics debuted in 2003, and the technology used by the characters reflects that. The animated series started in 2021 and the technology is updated to that year, such as the characters using smartphones. A clear-cut update is Nolan's means of writing his novels; in 2003 a writer still going vintage by using a typewriter wouldn't be too unusual, but in 2021 it definitely would be, so Nolan writes with a laptop instead.

  • A Million Is a Statistic: Horrifically deconstructed in the final episode. Nolan uses this as one of the reasons Mark's struggle against him and the Viltrumite empire is pointless, showing him just how easily a Viltrumite can decimate and kill an entire city of human people, throwing him into a busy street to cause massive damage and using his body as a kinetic weapon against a train full of people. While Omni-Man makes it clear how little he cares about the deaths he's causing, to the point of blaming Mark over it, Mark is completely horrified at what just happened.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Downplayed. When William starts openly talking about how hot Omni-Man is towards the beginning of episode 1, William interprets Mark's grossed out reaction as just him being grossed out by gay stuff, when in reality it's because it's Mark's dad William is talking about.
  • Monster of the Week: Invincible would battle with a new villain each episode.
  • Mook Horror Show: During the Flaxan's attack on Earth, Omni-Man intervenes not only by wiping out the invading Flaxan mooks, but takes it up a notch by flying through the portal to their homeworld, murdering their leader by using him as a meat shield through a mountain range, and destroying their cities, culminating in dropping a mountain on their capital.
  • Muggle Best Friend: William Clockwell is Mark's best and possibly Only Friend at school, often acting as The Lancer to him while being Locked Out of the Loop about him being Invincible or his abilities.
  • Mundane Utility: Omni-Man is fond of using his flight and super-speed... to bring take-away dinner home from any place in the world.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Nolan takes Mark to Arthur Rosenbaum in order to make a proper superhero costume for him, Art lets Mark try out one of his unsold costumes that is essentially just Zandale Randolph's (Bulletproof's) outfit. Whom would appear way later in the comics. The same costume was also worn by one of the Evil Mark Grayson's during the comic's Invincible War crisis event.
    • After Battle Beast defeats and nearly kills three of the Guardians of the Globe members. He holds Black Samson and Monster Girl up just like he did with Bulletproof and Black Samson.
    • A strange case that is actually a mythology gag for one of the inspirations of the series. When The Immortal is having a flashback of his previous experiences, we get a good look at The Immortal's first costume before his modern one, and it's essentially Superman's debut costume.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Viltrumite Empire. Their obsession with forging a Master Race drove them to purge half their population through trial by combat. Then, they began a merciless and bloodthirsty expansion of their territories, justifying it by claiming they were better than everyone else in technology and genes and that anyone who didn't submit deserved to die. When they reach the limits of the borders they can control, they continue to delude themselves of their right for total conquest by sending sleeper agents disguised as heroes and gods to weaken planets through chaos and subterfuge in time for the harvest. And the sleeper agent they sent to weaken Earth? Claims they are Just Following Orders, even as they find sadistic ways to murder thousands of people to prove their moral superiority.
  • The Needs of the Many: Much of Omni-Man's training for Mark is trying to instill in him the idea that he should focus on contending with larger-scale threats to humanity instead of simply focusing on saving individual people. This is part of his attempt to prepare Mark to help him finally conquer Earth.
  • Noodle Incident: Black Samson wears Power Armor but according to Rex Splode, he had powers but at some point lost them. His experience combined with the suit still makes him a Badass Normal.
  • Not Where They Thought: Played for Laughs in "Here Goes Nothing" when Allen the Alien shows up to Earth and fights Mark. He was sent on behalf of the Coalition of Planets to evaluate the defenses of a planet called "Urath", but it isn't until he has a brief conservation with Mark that Mark informs him he's at the wrong planetnote . Making it even funnier is that it's implied he's been coming to Earth for years (and fighting Mark's father, Nolan/Omni-Man every time) and never once realized his mistake.
    • Though Mark immediately assuages Allen's guilt with a more horrifying potential version. Had Allen realized his mistake earlier, he would have ended up tipping off Omni-Man that the Coalition was aware of his activities, and that probably would have started the ultra-holocaust.
  • The Nth Doctor: As a result of copying his mind to his new body in episode 7, Robot went from being voiced by Zachary Quinto to now voiced by Ross Marquand.
  • Occult Detective: Damien Darkblood, the Demon Detective, is... well a demon who works as a detective, using his powers to help solve crimes. It's mentioned that part of the reason is that each case he solves gets him reprieve from hell.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: One of Mark's first scenes is Screw This, I'm Outta Here because his parents are getting too affectionate in front him. He even says that one of the things parents should never do is discuss sex in front of their kids, and his mother lightly remarks that he should be happy that his parents love each other so much.
  • Parents as People: Eve's parents aren't villainous and they do care about her. However, the way they try to talk to her comes off as so tone-deaf, toxic, disrespectful, and ignorant that they make the situation worse for her and eventually drive her away.
  • Planet of Hats: Nolan tells Mark that their race—the Viltrumites—are a race of superheroes who send emissaries from their planet to underdeveloped worlds to protect them and their worlds from anything that could threaten them. In the first season finale, it's revealed that they are actually a Proud Warrior Race of Social Darwinist super-beings whose sense of superiority led to them culling the "weak" from their species (cutting their planet's population in half) and would go on to do the same on a galactic scale in the form of a world-conquering empire. Nolan is one of many Evil Heroes sent to weaken Earth's existing defenses and to gain their trust so that Earth would be ripe for taking. If Earth decides to fight, the Viltrum Empire will annihilate them.
  • Plot Parallel: Both Nolan and Mark attempt to distract their partners from asking questions which they give evasive or lying answers to, with various forms of gifts. Believing that doing so is part of some greater purpose that entirely justifies the deception. In both cases this ends up having disastrous consequences for the relationship although in Mark's case he and Amber do eventually reconcile.
  • Politically Correct Villain: First deconstructed, then separately parodied with Doc Seismic. He attacks Paha Sapa, aka Mt. Rushmore, correctly accusing the real-life politicians as racist monsters, but immediately becoming even worse by further desecrating the sacred hilltop while indiscriminately murdering people who have no say in any of it. Later, in the middle of a fight with Invincible and Atom Eve, he serves as a parody by insulting the latter's apparent willingness to wear a male-designed, gender-normative superhero costume. When Atom Eve replies that she designed it herself and asks why he cares about that, Doc Seismic says that he has a degree in Gender Studies and a minor in African Dance in addition to his specialization in Seismology.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The animation revises a few elements of the early plotlines from the comics, some of those being:
    • The initial events in which Mark becomes a superhero is quicker to make him realize dealing with real world scenarios is very hard, with plenty of potential casualties at every turn; the comics had that realization be a slow burn-in for Mark, to the point he actually was naïve enough with his first outings to believe being a superhero was actually very easy.
    • The eradication of the Guardians of the Globe goes completely different in the animation. Omni-Man seems to put some real effort into taking down the Guardians, and they deal some damage to him, whereas in the comic Nolan annihilated them without breaking a sweat. The bigger change is the tone of said events; much bigger doubt is put into why Omni-Man did all of this, with the Immortal even contemplating if he could be under mind control. Nolan being hurt as well puts an air of mystery towards the event, contrasting with the comic which was quicker to show Omni-Man's intentions. It also fixes a bit of Early-Installment Weirdness from the comics: while the Viltrumites were portrayed as nearly unstoppable in the first few comic arcs akin to Silver Age Kryptonians, the mid-point and end of the comics showed them getting their asses handed to them by a large variety of weird and various opponents portraying them as closer to Bronze Age Kryptonians..
    • The Flaxan alien invasion had a greater time-lapse between their return in the comics, the animation has them develop the aging-halt bracelets right from the second advance, that would happen only a while later in the source material. The Flaxans are revealed to still be alive after Omni-Man annihilated their invading force.
    • While the comic originally had Nolan's violent confrontation with Mark happen at the end of the second arc—which, in show terms, would happen at the end of the second episode—the show opts to save it for the season finale in order to make the Driving Question of the season reach a more explosive narrative conclusion.
  • Punny Name: Three of the Teen Team have these for superhero names; there's Atom Eve (Adam and Eve), Rex Splode (explode), and Dupli-Kate (duplicate). Then when the new Guardians of the Globe are chosen, we get Shrinking Rae (Shrinking Ray).
  • Race Lift: A few to go around, due to the show's characters having similar races to their voice actors.
    • Debbie is Korean-American instead of Caucasian, making Mark half-white (technically he's half-Viltrumite, but Nolan looks white) and half-Korean.
    • Rex Splode has a darker skin tone than his comic counterpart. He is voiced by Jason Mantzoukas who is Greek-American; according to the creators, they wanted the characters' ethnicities to match that of their actors.
    • Amber Bennett is a white, blonde girl in the comics. She is an African-American brunette in this show, and her racial identity is an important aspect of her character.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Performed by Red Rush during Omni-Man's assault on the Guardian's headquarters. They eventually deteriorate Red Rush trying desperately to land blows using his broken hands in an attempt to get Omni-Man to stop crushing his head, to no avail.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Immortal was apparently some Bronze Age warrior who was zapped by purple rays and became immortal. He's probably over a thousand.
    • It's revealed that Viltrumites live for thousands of years. Given that Omni-Man looks middle-aged, he's apparently thousands of years old himself.
  • Reconstruction: Of the Super Hero genre. Yes, the show is Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier than traditional superhero stories, while presenting a norm of Black-and-Gray Morality, all for the sake of realism. But no matter what, the heroes still protect the world from evil with their idealism and courage.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Invoked when Titan attempts to leave Machine Head's service following the repayment of his debt.
  • Rule of Three: The alien invasion in episode 2 come from a dimension where time is faster than ours and so they begin to age rapidly. The first 2 times they retreat when they start to suffer from the different time-streams with the third time they arrive completely immune and with weaponry too advanced for the Teen Team to handle. It takes Omni-Man being accidentally transported to that dimension and committing near-genocide to end the invasion once and for all.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mark is shown to have No Sense of Direction and keeps on asking where things are, such as Mt. Everest, and not realizing how far away things are, like Mars. Although as Nolan states, due to the fact that he doesn't know much about the direction of things (especially how long it takes to get to Mars) means he really should stay in school.
    • The Mauler Twins' squabbles over who is the original and who is the clone.

  • Sequel Hook: Several in the first season finale, many of them thanks to an ending montage, most of which are plot threads from previous episodes coming to roost. The Flaxans survived, rebuilding and plan to get their revenge on Omni-Man, who they don't know is no longer guarding the planet. Doc Seismic is alive after all, and leading an army of lava monsters. The Sequids have completely infested Mars. Titan is still a crime lord preparing to make a move against other criminals. Battle Beast is still at large. D. A. Sinclair is working on more Reanimen with GDA oversight. The Immortal is shown being put back together once again. Allen the Alien warns Invincible that more Viltrumites are coming to Earth, but that the Coalition of Planets will be able to provide assistance. And Mark still has to graduate from high school.
  • Setting Update: The original comic starts around the Turn of the Millennium, whereas this series begins in what appears to be The New '20s or close to it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Episode three has one of Mark's favorite comics being "The Underwater Welder" by Jeff Lemire.
    • In episode five, Omni-Man claims to have once diverted an asteroid the size of Texas.
    • Also in episode five, we see Darkblood's notebook and its cover looks like a smaller Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from Evil Dead.
    • The first episode briefly shows Darkwing's home city, which notably features dark red skies — the visual trademark of Batman: The Animated Series for making Gotham seem distinctively dark.
    • Cecil once refers to Damien as a "Horned Holmes".
    • One of the Mauler Twins congratulates Robot's clone for having "Won the coin toss", in what might be a reference to SOMA.
    • The GDA's Kill Sat is named "the Hammer". It's very likely that its naming is a reference to Gears of War.
  • Smash Cut: Each episode smash-cuts to the title credit just as someone is about to say the word "invincible", so the word is seen instead of heard.
  • Spider-Man Send-Up: Downplayed. While Invincible doesn't have Spidey's arachnid powers, his character is very much modeled after Peter Parker in terms of personality and his high school background.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To The Boys (2019), another adult superhero show on Prime Video. While The Boys is a dark and incredibly violent Deconstruction of the superhero genre in live-action based on a comic by a writer who despises the genre, Invincible is going more towards Reconstruction in an animated format based on a comic by a writer who adores the genre... and it is also incredibly violent.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: At the end of the first episode, the music suddenly stops when Omni-Man kills Red Rush, and the rest of the final scene plays without a soundtrack. Just the sounds of the Guardians being brutally murdered.
  • Superman Substitute: Omni-Man is clearly modeled after the Man of Tomorrow, which by extension makes Invincible one to Superboy.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Red Rush gets several civilians to safety using his Super-Speed. They all promptly get motion sickness. A second example immediately follows: despite being immune to the internal effects of his own Super-Speed, Red Rush vomits as a reflex to the sight, sound and smell of the civilian vomit.
    • When Omni-Man genocides the Flaxians, the show demonstrates that a Flying Brick that accelerates to speeds capable of leaving a planet in seconds is devastating. The sheer velocity of impacts from an entity that can surpass the human laws of physics is like a proverbial nuke going off rapidly and repeatedly with every single collision. Never mind the demonstration on the Starter Villain Slash, who gets pasted into what was left of their head just by being rammed through multiple structures without a single punch thrown.
  • Take That!: When Mark tries to think of a superhero name for himself, he thinks of Ass Kicker, only to retract that since he thinks it's "willfully childish".
  • Teleportation Misfire: Cecil's teleporter is shown to be somewhat inaccurate. Nolan nearly strangles him when Cecil teleports into his living room; Cecil states that he was trying to appear at the front door.
  • Title Drop: Played With in a interesting way; the first time in each episode Mark's superhero name is said, it cuts to the Title Screen.
  • Transforming Mecha: In episode 7, the Mauler Twins give Robot a new human body. Despite his gratitude, Robot still intends to send them back to prison and reveals that the truck he arrived in can transform into a larger version of his drone.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: All of the Gorn in the series is played completely seriously and without absolutely any Black Comedy whatsoever, totally unlike The Boys (2019). In other words, whenever the show gets violent, it becomes horrific and dramatic real quick, and all of it is to demonstrate the disturbing effects that fantastical superpowers and technology do to people in real-life.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • After Red Rush escorts the bystanders away from the White House attack, they start to throw up one-by-one due to motion sickness. Red Rush himself nearly succumbs, but runs away first.
    • While cleaning up the site of the Guardians of the Globe's murders, one of the cleaners removes her mask to vomit on the floor from the sight. Due to holding the decapitated head of The Immortal.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The Guardians of the Globe are all slain after their first appearance. Only The Immortal eventually returns at the hands of the Mauler Twins, lays a brutal smackdown on Omni-Man in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, then gets brutally bisected near the end of episode 7, although he's later resurrected a second time.
  • Wham Shot: The Mauler Twin escape from jail by a person operating in the shadows, revealed to be Robot as Cecil walks in and asks him how the new Guardian training is going.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Most superheroes get their outfits from a very talented tailor named Art Rosenbaum.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The city Mark lives in is unnamed and its location in the general United States is unspecified. The local college is generically named "Upstate College." Note that this is not 100% ambiguous; in American English, "upstate" typically refers to the parts of New York State that aren't very near New York City or Buffalo. Deepening the similarity is that New York is stuffed full of colleges, and its high-schools have a relatively high academic standard and most graduates are qualified to apply to any American university. Similarly, it is implied that Mark would have known the distance to Mars in a very practical way by his senior year.
    It may be intended as a clear analogue of Metropolis or Gotham rather than an ambiguous reference to a real Earth city. This uncertainty is played with when Mark reacts to an attack on the White House like a real-Earth American would (it's *the White House!*), while Debbie reacts like she is from an Earth menaced by supervillains (oh, they rebuild that thing every other week).
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The Flaxan's dimension has a faster time-rate than Earth's. It serves as their weakness that requires them to adapt with technology to be unaffected by Earth's time. Without it, they age quickly and their earlier generations of weapons corrode from time and oxidization.
    Robot: They seem to have discovered a way to resist our timestream.
    Rex: In three days?!
    Robot: Three days for us, decades for them.

These are the tropes. The tropes for the adaptation of... Invincible

Alternative Title(s): Invincible


Invincible - Sky Interrogation

Nolan teaches Mark how to interrogate in the sky.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (38 votes)

Example of:

Main / HighAltitudeInterrogation

Media sources: