Invicible volume 14 is the conclusion to the first overarching storyline that has been running since the first issue. Much like Fables volume 12, it can be seen as a fitting conclusion to the series, even though the universe still has many more stories to tell. While it does close many doors, much like any serial story, for every door that closes another opens. I should also point out that this review may contain spoilers for anything in the first thirteen trades (or six hardcovers) of the series.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Age: Older Teens (Violence)
We jump right back to where we left off, with Nolan and Allen the Alien trying to gather up the final forces needed for the Coalition of Planets’ assault plan. They recruit Tech Jacket and, after a few sad goodbyes, they jump into a very familiar looking ship (with a very familiar looking crew) and leave to meet up with the rest of the Coalition. Along the way they’re attacked by Conquest and a handful of Viltrumites, beginning an epic battle (which Invincible is known for) with punches that reverberate straight through the page. Invincible, Oliver, Nolan, Allen and Tech Jacket versus three Viltrumites, it’s one of the best fight cards imaginable.
The remaining fighters group up and latch onto the Viltrumites ship undetected. Using locators that are imbedded on one of them, they’re rescued and the Coalition must move on as best they can with the few heroes who are left. With plans now in motion, we watch as the Coalition and Viltrumite empire play a game of chess both attacking and retreating strategic targets while trying to gain an upper hand in the war. With the Coalition advancing, a traitor emerges and we get another crazy fight, setting up the biggest and baddest fight ever seen in Invincible. The only way to describe it is to reference other books and we go from the “Helms Deep battle” to the “siege of Minas Tirith,” or for a comic comparison on we go from the “Sinestro Corps War” to “Blackest Night.” There’s nothing more to be gained from describing the events, so I’ll close off saying that no one is safe and that anything can happen.
The beauty of this book comes from the fact that everything described until now has involved huge battles, but there are still many quiet moments that help bring context and meaning to every punch thrown. I’d really like to see the scripts and find out how much freedom Ottley had to interpret some of the scenes in this book; from silent panels, to amazing layouts and insane splash pages Ottley literally does it all. I cannot fathom anyone else doing a better job than Ottley did and, while it is a definite page turner, I suggest everyone take a few moments to fully appreciate the art when reading this.
I’ll refrain from going into detail about Robert Kirkman’s writing as he, along with Cory Walker, created Invincible and knows these characters intimately. The relationships between lovers, families, enemies and friends are all explored to perfection. This book cannot be read on its own and should not be, it’s the culmination of seventy issues of work and you would do neither the creators nor yourself justice by reading it solo. Kirkman must be congratulated on one thing in particular, while he does wrap up several of the long running threads, this books ends on such a note that I could not see readers using this as an opportunity to drop drop the book. I eagerly await the next trade as I can’t wait to see exactly what direction Kirkman plans to take this.
This book was absolutely fantastic and, while we already know that Kirkman’s a great writer, we are also reminded that Ottley is equally talented artistically. I usually recommend this book to those looking for classic superheroes, calling it the modern Spider-Man. With this issue though, I will also recommend it to fans of space opera as this volume definitely fits into the genre. The unexpected group of people this may interest includes fans of shonen manga such as Dragonball, Naruto or Bleach as the epic battles and varied abilities remind me of many battles from shonen books. This volume also made me realize that a well made animated Invincible television series could rival Walking Dead, although catering to a different audience. This all brings me to the last group of people who may enjoy this; TMNT fans who enjoy a bit of parodying mixed in with great action, a solid storyline and the unlimited potential of a universe not tied down to any corporation or ridiculous continuity. I cannot compliment this book enough, and I only wish more people would pick it up so they can experience it for themselves.