Being a big fan of the early Invincible story arcs, but afraid to pick up any new issues in fear that I'd be lost, you can imagine how excited I was to see this cover.
"NEW READER FRIENDLY!"
"DON'T MISS OUT A SECOND TIME!"
"INCLUDES A COMPREHENSIVE RECAP OF THE ENTIRE SERIES!"
Tacky, sure, but VERY alluring to a lapsed fan like myself. Unfortunately these things never work out the way you want them to.
So the gagillion-page recap in the back is written by a fella named David Campbell, and I don't know what Robert Kirkman was busy doing (Other than Ant-Man, Walking Dead, Wolf-Man, and Lord knows what else) that he had to hand the recap duties over to someone else, but it has none of the charm and wit that pervades the book itself. It's just dry dry dry.
Which would be fine if the issue itself were snappy and exciting. Unfortunately, by page two the train's already pulling into Talky-town. They spend so much time talking about what happened PRIOR to this issue that they run out of space for anything to happen DURING this issue.
Which I suppose I should expect from a recap issue. Maybe it's my fault that I didn't come in with reasonable expectations.
Maybe when I saw "NEW READER FRIENDLY" I shouldn't have interpreted that to mean "MORE ATOM EVE HINEY." Sigh.
On the sunny side, there are short bursts of action that show off one of Kirkman's greatest talents: creating compelling throwaway villains for Our Hero to fight.
First we meet The Giant, an eight year-old boy who was pulled into another dimension when his grandmother accidentally opened a portal while making an herbal remedy for her cat. The boy was enchanted by a sorcerer, turned into a monster and over the course of a year became the king of a vast empire before being sent back to Earth by an enemy, whereupon he embarks on a rampage meant to win him the Presidency of the United States. And you know how many pages he's in the book? Two. He is introduced, given an origin, and dispatched in TWO PAGES. And we'll probably never see him again. Kirkman pulls these guys out all the time, and I love him for it.
Also of note is the awesome-looking one-pager Octoboss, who came to this world and was frustrated that no one understood him so he "take time off" to learn the language as best he could. He also claims to have watched some TV.
This issue was not good. I certainly would not recommend it to someone who has never read Invincible before, because then they might get the mistaken impression that it's a boring book. Everyone, including me, should read all the Invincible trades. People that want to catch up without spending all that dough should at least go buy the first trade and read the Wikipedia article (which I swear is better written than the recap in this ish) to prepare for next month's issue, which looks to be the beginning of a new story arc. The last panel of this issue hints at where it may be going (Invincible's rapidly-growing purple half-brother developing powers), and I'm sure Kirkman has some tricks up his sleeve to make it worth your while. Hopefully one of those is the back end of a cute redheaded superheroine.