by Robert Kirkman (writer), Ryan Ottley (pencils), Cliff Rathburn (inks), FCO Plascencia (colors), and Rus Wooton (letters)

The Story: Dinosaurus attacks, Mark meets Eve’s parents, and several old foes of Invincible’s consolidate for their next big attack.

What’s Good: Well, you certainly can’t get on this issue for lack of plot progression.  This is a very brisk read literally jam-packed with action, humor, and happenings.  After last month’s dry affair, it’s also a breath of fresh air.

The issue’s generally strong because it hinges on the chemistry between Mark and Eve, which has been one of the bedrocks of the series for some time now.  Their affection, compatibility, and mutual understanding have always been well done, and this month is no different.  The two fit together as well as ever and their conversations are always a smooth, comfortable read.

Kirkman expands that dynamic outward this month, as Mark meets Eve’s parents.  What ensues is well-executed comedy that’ll definitely bring a smile to your face.  This comes largely thanks to Kirkman’s portrayal of Eve’s father.  The guy’s just the right combination of antiquated patriarchy and unnerving masculine perversion.  Kirkman essentially takes the “man’s home is his castle” complex to its most appalling heights, and it’s hard not to laugh, particularly when it comes to Ottley’s illustration of Mark’s reaction.

Of course, like any of Kirkman’s more dense issues, this book plants a number of very large seeds that impact the comic as a whole.  Mark hints at his more murderous Viltrumite side in a way that’ll have you wondering “what if” and the issue ends with a MASSIVE bombshell that’ll change the landscape of this series for the foreseeable future, if not forever.  Meanwhile, the plots with Conquest and those damned sequids also see substantial developments.

Ryan Ottley delivers the exact same quality we’ve come to expect out of Invincible.  That said, what takes this book over his average affair is the battle with Dinosaurus.  While Plascencia’s colors are clearly a boon, the giant red dino just looks absolutely awesome.  Having a fight with a giant dinosaur always rates high on the awesome scale, and Ottley makes the most of it.

What’s Not So Good: With so much stuff packed into 22 pages, the pacing of this issue was just all over the map.  The last portion of the issue was simply a string of unrelated major developments with absolutely no real attempt to segue between them.  It was more or less a series of completely isolated and detached two page scenes.

The mood of the book also suffers due to this hectic structuring.  With most of the issue being written in a light, comic tone, Kirkman’s failing to segue to his major developments makes the experience feel fairly jarring and off-putting.  For instance, the massive shocker at the end of the book is of a massively different tone from the pages before it, and it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been pitched a ball from left field.

Also, while I liked Oliver’s new costume this month, what the hell happened to him?  While it’s good to see Oliver finally grow older, I feel like we’ve experienced a sudden five-year leap between issues.  I’m sure Kirkman will use Oliver’s heritage as an out, but that doesn’t stop this from feeling lazy and off-putting.

Conclusion: The book’s pacing is a bit of a mess, but the strength of its characters and the sheer number of developments in its pages more than makes up for that.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans