Phil Hester has been challenged with a very tedious and daring obstacle. Create an ongoing Image Comics Universe book. It would appear it will be mostly Invincible but room for other characters and titles to pop in and out. Image is the number one comic label out there. Nearly every single website (including us) agree that Image is the best of the best. Making the big two look embarrassingly outclassed in every single manner. Yes Marvel and DC are getting the fair share of media, but that is simply because they can buy the media. Image doesn’t need to buy shit. Image is the elite comic book company. They have Saga, The Darkness, Invincible, Peter Panzerfaust, Witchblade, Chew, Spawn, Elephantmen, and a slew of other big titles that are absolutely blowing people’s minds. Did I forget to mention The Walking Dead!? Yeah, they have that too. So why did this issue fail to make ends meet?
Invincible Universe #1 suffers from what I like to call “The Burrito Effect“. If you have a number one issue it should be a great jumping on point for anyone. Not the case with Invincible Universe. I will give credit where credit is due. The concept is intriguing from the first page, but it gets jumbled and lost in the lists of characters, words, places, teams that we are supposed to claim to understand. If you put too many ingredients in a burrito, it will simply fall apart in your hands. Case in point with this title. Everything starts off so great, but then we just get too many ingredients to keep the burrito from bursting at the seams. Not to say for lack of trying though. Phil Hester did what he could to make all these characters interesting and provocative from the very first time we met them. But a first time reader wouldn’t have the slightest clue as to what pieces went where. This burrito went from being food to being a 1,000 piece puzzle. Even if you get all the pieces sometimes you just can’t put it together.
I have no doubt that issue #2 will be much more precise with the story telling and character introductions. Perhaps meeting all these characters in one issue wasn’t the best idea, but I do understand wanting to get all that jazz out of the way to tell the story you want to tell. I am having serious doubts that this series is going to be anything less than extraordinary, but it has quite a mess to pick up. It does have some saving graces, the blunt and erratic dialog is always pleasing. Anytime characters talk like a regular person would, that draws me more into the world. Also pleasing was getting to actually visualize the Image Comics world. Every picture of different characters doing different things was very cool. My favorite artwork in the book. But the art itself was something else entirely.
Todd Nauck is not only insanely talented but he is just an all around good guy. He frequently does acts of kindness for others and really doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of attention for it. Todd I pay attention, I see it, and I think you are an awesome guy. Todd makes titles such as Teen Titans and Young Justice that much better because of his artwork but for some reason, the artwork in this issue just didn’t seem very…Todd. Perhaps at DC he had a much better art team at hand, but colors still seem very Invincible like to me. The art just felt off. Not bad. Just off, not what I had come to expect from Invincible. I know Mark Grayson is a kid but the comic just feels much more grown up. This didn’t. I think that is what disconnected me the most from this issue.
Invincible #1 wasn’t at all what I was expecting but I grew to love it, I am hoping the same thing happens with Invincible Universe #1.