by Robert Kirkman (writer), Ryan Ottley (pencils), FCO Plascencia & Sheila Saldana (colors), and Rus Wooton (letters)

The Story: The Viltrumite War comes to end, but will it end in blood or in something more interesting?

What’s Good: Robert Kirkman sure knows how to surprise readers.  That said, he doesn’t do so this month with a random death or anything particularly explosive like that.  Rather, it’s that the resolution of the Viltrumite War comes in a form that is completely unexpected.  It’s a major twist and one that’s very interesting and is sure to have long-term implications.  While Kirkman is great at shocking the reader, he’s also great at planting seeds for the future, which isn’t something I expected of him with this particular issue.  It’s a fascinating turn of events.  After what we’ve gotten so far, I think I wasn’t the only one expecting a massive punch-up this month.  That Kirkman goes in a completely different direction certainly took me off guard and it spoke to Kirkman’s skill and made for a good, and surprising, read.

Up until this resolution, however, Kirkman spends most of the issue ratcheting the tension up.  Much of the issue sees our heroes heading towards Earth completely unsure of what they’ll find there and the anticipation is palpable.  Given Kirkman’s writerly bloodlust, we end up feeling quite a bit like the characters themselves, unsure of what horrors Kirkman has awaiting us.  There’s also a number of really fun “dream sequences” showing Mark’s worst fears of what Earth could be like by the time they get there.  This also allows for Ryan Ottley to really shine, taking obvious glee in doing horrible, horrible things to some of our most beloved characters.

Speaking of Ottley, it’s another fantastic month for him, as usual.  Aside from these awesomely gory bits, he once again excels with his characters faces, always perfectly capturing emotions and even the subtlest nuances of a character’s thoughts.  He’s one of those illustrators who succeeds in both the big things and the small ones.

Basically though, with this issue, get a book that builds tension like none other, having you dreading what Kirkman has in store.  Then, when you find out what that is, it’s completely other than you’re expecting.  Kirkman has a penchant for lulling us into a false sense of security and then devastating us with something terrible.  In an ingenious twist, he sort reverses that this month.

What’s Not So Good: I can see some readers being underwhelmed by how this war concludes or, rather, how it doesn’t conclude as decisively as we may have hoped for.  Aside from this open door, it also isn’t an explosive fight scene issue either.  There’s no real action to be had.  This alone might frustrate some given what came before.

I can understand that, but on the other hand, complaining about the lack of a big action scene in arc chock full of them seems a bit harsh to me.

Conclusion: An outstanding issue of Invincible.  Hopefully we won’t have to wait long for the next one.

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans