When you think about Prime Video’s Invincible, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? For most, you’re probably thinking about Omni-Man’s hyper-violent beating of his son, Mark Grayson, in the first season’s brutal finale to Omni-Man bashing in the Guardians of the Globe. Well, expect the blood and guts to get even more gruesomely insane this season and that’s not even getting into the crazier parts of Season 2.
Invincible‘s second season, headed by original creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Simon Racioppa, picks right up a month after the first season’s events as Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) is struggling to organize himself following Omni-Man’s (J. K. Simmons) breakdown. Faced between incidentally following his father’s footsteps and growing up as a normal kid (as “normal” as it can be for someone whose powers are nearly on-par with Superboy’s), Mark must push through against new threats that lead him ever so closer to being the person he doesn’t want to be.
‘Invincible’ Season 2 Grips With Mark and Sam’s Family Pains
Mark isn’t the geeky, confident teen he was: he’s much more emotionally conflicted about being the hero he’s supposed to be and throughout this season, Mark can’t seem to let Omni-Man’s message go. Mark continually gets thrown into these harrowing situations, whether it be fighting massive creatures or dastardly menaces, in order to prove that he’s not like his father, inserting drops of complexity along the way. In addition, Mark’s not the only one reeling from Nolan’s actions: Deborah (Sandra Oh) is going through her own psychological hell fueled by her anger by Nolan’s betrayal.
Both Mark and Deborah’s stories of characterization go hand-in-hand in this heartfelt, if somber mother-son dynamic where Yeun and Oh’s terrific performances feel more personally intensified, especially in the second half of this first-parter.
Besides Mark and Deborah’s journeys, this season also continues to build on the stories of the more heroic, lesser-challenged side cast. The most important side character has to be Samantha Eve Wilkins aka Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs), whose troubled familial upbringing was amazingly presented in Invincible: Atom Eve.
Sam’s complicated relationship with her intolerant father and more loving mother serves as a more troubling parallel to Mark and Deborah as Sam persists on helping others with her powers despite her father’s insistence. The season paces and integrates Sam’s story wonderfully given how she’s able to further connect to Mark with Amber (Zazie Beetz) and William (Andrew Rannells). Although, it does feel like both Amber and William’s roles have been decreased, save for the first Episodes 1 and 2.
‘Invincible’ Season 2 Pulls Its Hero Reserves On A Short Leash
In terms of the rest of Invincible‘s diverse range of heroes, this season pulls most of them back into Mark’s personal story as much as it can. Cecil (Walton Giggins) retains the secretive, calculating characteristics he’s always had, but he’s much more integrated in terms of connecting the emotional bridges and picking up the Graysons’ pieces.
As for the Guardians of the Globe, they may feel like they bloat up the main plot, save for the growing affections between Rudy “Robot” Connors (Zachary Quinto / Ross Marquand) and Amanda aka Monster Girl (Grey Griffin / Kevin Michael Richardson). Robot and Monster Girl’s relationship feels especially unique as it plays into the more ‘human’ side of things, such as how to understand your inner emotions, and help viewers connect back to understanding Mark’s state of mind.
However, this season takes a lot of liberty of making Rex Splode (Jason Mantzoukas) a lot more arrogant, which feels somewhat of a departure from his growth in maturity last season. The new additions to the team, Bulletproof (Jay Pharoah) and Shapesmith (Ben Schwartz), do need some more needed development to make themselves naturally fit in with the rest of the Guardians. This is especially in terms of Bulletproof, who really doesn’t have much involvement within the team outside of Episode 2.
‘Invincible’ Season 2’s Villains Almost Live Up To Their Potential
As this season’s supposed big bad, Angstrom Levy (Sterling K. Brown) almost feels like a very terrifying threat for Invincible to face: his interdimensional powers can very much put him on-par with Marvel’s Kang the Conqueror, but his personality is much more like Loki‘s He Who Remains. However, this season mostly relegates him to being this overshadowing enemy that’s waiting for the right time to strike. On another end, this season does a lot more with the Mauler Twins (Kevin Michael Richardson), adding to the show’s comedically dark humor as well as the hyperaggressive action.
Invincible‘s second season puts Levy on the back-end in order to lay the foundation for bigger storylines and answering questions such as, “Where did Omni-Man go at the end of Season 1?” For comics fans, you might already know where this is headed, but to the casual viewer, these four episodes may feel like drastically different plot lines interweaving themselves into one physical obstacle Mark has to face at the end of the season. How these storylines will inevitably connect at the season’s conclusion will ultimately depend on how Part 2 will build off from these episodes.
Invincible Season 2 is a gruesomely exciting addition to this starkly valiant universe even if it gets off to a shaky start, much like its first season. Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and Wind Sun Sky Entertainment certainly did a wonderful job bringing this world with a more fluid artistic style and creating some of the most bloodiest, devastating action sequences that could ever be put in such an animated series. While Invincible Season 2 is made to set the stage for its grandiose climax, it certainly does the job in presenting what made the show memorable for fans, both old and new.
Rating – 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Invincible Season 2 will stream on Prime Video starting November 3. Part 2 will be released in early 2024. Invincible was created by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley.
This review was written during the 2023 WGA (now resolved) and SAG-AFTRA (ongoing) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series/movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.