One of the problems with adapting a comic book or graphic novel to a televised format is having to pick and choose what to adapt. In the case of Invincible, there are going to be many things that Amazon Prime has to move and shuffle around. While it’s necessary to fit an hour-long format for a season with a set amount of episodes, that could backfire. For example, this week’s episode is chaotic, all over the place, and follows too many plots at once. Thus, this review will cover each plot separately for the sake of clarity.
Atom Eve Gets a Lesson in Knowing What She’s Doing
One notable issue that people have with the concept of superheroes is that many never do anything to better society beyond crime fighting. Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four could likely solve problems like climate change, yet he doesn’t. From a meta standpoint, this is done to maintain a sense of realism in comic books to help people identify with it more, but that hasn’t stopped people from arguing that they could do more. However, shows like The Boys and Invincible like to deconstruct these arguments by showing us how superheroes, even well-intentioned ones, might do more harm than good. That’s something that Atom Eve learns in a very harsh way in her storyline.
Having quit being a superhero and graduated high school, Eve’s been using her powers in a more practical application. I.E., she’s building houses, making city parks, and providing stuff for her parents to sell. Sadly, her father not only stubbornly refuses her help but then reveals that the park she made collapsed due to unstable ground. As a result, she’s left devastated.
As rude as Mr. Wilkins was to Eve, he did have a point. Eve didn’t think to learn about whether the ground she made the park on was safe, something that an expert would know beforehand. At the same time, though, Eve was trying to do the right thing. All she needed to do was learn more before using her powers.
Drama With the Guardians of the Globe
Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Globe, now under Immortal’s leadership, aren’t doing any better. They barely make it through his training sessions, and Rexsplode’s as immature as ever about things. To top it off, he discovers that Duplic-Kate is now dating the Immortal, rubbing more salt into his wounds. However, that soon becomes the least of their worries as they find a potential new member, the Shapesmith, played to dorky perfection by Ben Schwartz.
Despite his assertions that he’s “a normal human,” he’s anything but that. Back in the first season, Mark traveled to Mars to save a group of astronauts, but one of them got left behind, with a Martian taking his place. Martian’s trying to copy the late Martian Man and become a superhero. However, it’s obvious to viewers that Shapesmith is hilariously ignorant of being human. All he eats are frozen pizzas! It will be fun to see how long he can keep up this act of his.
Deborah Dealing With PTSD
While it’s not filled with action like the other storylines of the episode, Deborah’s story remains just as interesting. She’s been trying to deal with the fallout of learning her husband’s a killer in a deplorable manner. She starts drinking a lot more, freaks out at the sight of Donald, who she saw die onscreen and is apprehensive of Mark working for Cecil. In addition, when she tries to return to her job and sees a couple arguing with each other, she starts to project her issues onto them.
All of this culminates in a moment where frustrated over a cabinet door that refuses to close, she has a full breakdown and destroys it. When Mark comes home and finds her, all she can do is sit there and cry. The original comics were even worse, though, with Deborah blaming Mark for driving his father away.
This was, by far, the best scene of the entire episode. It’s a disturbingly accurate depiction of someone who’s suffering from a traumatic experience and wants nothing more than to return to some sense of normalcy. The fact that she knows she can’t do that only makes Debbie’s breakdown an even bigger tear-jerker than it already is.
Invincible Deals With More Hero Problems
As all this is going on, Mark graduated from High School along with his friends. However, rather than enjoying one of the last chances he has at a free summer, he spends the entire time working for Cecil. Despite Deborah’s breakdown and Ben Schwartz joining the cast being highlights of the episode, Mark’s story has some entertaining moments. To be more precise, there are a number of references to Marvel and DC comics in Mark’s escapades.
Firstly, Doc Seismic returns with an army of magma men a la Mole Man meets Poison Ivy. Seeing how crazy Seismic is will never not be funny. Next, Mark travels to the late Darkwing’s stomping grounds of Midnight City. In a direct homage to Batman: The Animated Series, the city’s cursed with eternal darkness. Crazier still, Darkwing’s former apprentice, Dark Boy, has taken up his mentor’s mantle, except he’s full-on Red Hood about it. He even has access to the Shadow Realm to move around. However, whereas everyone assumes a fight between Batman and Superman would be epic, Darkwing vs. Invincible…not so much.
Then, we have the event that gives the episode its name. To make amends with Atlantis for Omni-Man killing Aquarus of the Guardians of the Globe, Cecil tells Mark he has to…marry his widow.
Fortunately for Mark, that tradition was abolished a long time ago. Unfortunately, he has to fight a giant sea monster instead. Even more unfortunate, it feels like this was a missed opportunity for drama. Trying to see Mark get out of this unwanted marriage deal would’ve been a good source of friction between Mark and Cecil. Plus, seeing how Amber would react to it would be interesting. Sadly, the title’s misleading, and it’s a missed opportunity.
Still a Funny Episode
Overall, while I wish that this episode was a little more focused, comic books can juggle multiple storylines at once. And Invincible manages to do it surprisingly well. The one downside is that the Angstrom Levy arc gets relegated to the credits…and leads us to see a universe with a gender-bent Cecil and Donald. That’s one image I’m going to get out of my head anytime soon!
The episode still loses points for the misleading title, though.
I Give “In About Six Hours I Lose My Virginity To A Fish” a 3/5