Plot: Invincible is broken. Bloodied. Beaten. Angry. Hurting. And the Viltrumite bastard who's killing him has hardly a scratch, and is covered in the blood of his victims.
Comments: This is an intense amount of superhero carnage. We see Invincible, Invinciboy and Atom Eve all try to fight against their ruthless foe (whom the world has mistaken for Invincible's father, Omni-man), but they don't fare well. And no one else is available to help, because of what the world has already suffered. And the fact that Invincible and his foe are moving around the planet at such speeds they're nearly impossible to track.
So it's not really a battle, it's a slaughter. And Kirkman and Ottley take no short cuts in depicting broken bone, eviscerated organs, dismembered body parts, and especially horribly damaged dental work. The cover really says it all, as Mark is broken but unbowed … but how many more blows will it take to silence him for good?
Conquest is a grim and gritty character design, a sort of malevolent Cable come back to Earth not to save but to destroy. Invincible is sort of a Superman, an alien who has fallen in love with his adopted planet, but the Viltrumites (unlike the Kryptonians) are very much alive and don't plan to let him go so easily. Conquest's charge is simple: subdue the planet, by any means necessary. Apparently there are only 6 supers on the planet who might go toe to toe with him. You wonder what hope Mark has in coping with such a threat.
And it's insult to injury that this brutal battle comes in the wake of the Invincible War, which already caused widespread devastation. It's just a grim, dark, unrelenting issue … you feel every blow. Strangely, it also feels over in a flash. I don't know what it is about Kirkman's stories in this series, but they do have a feeling of not advancing very far month by month. It's not exactly decompression, and the stories are very involving it, so what is it?
Let's see. Plot-wise in this issue, Atom Eve wakes up and rush's to Mark's aid. Invinciboy also tries to help, and is nearly killed. The hero coordinator does his best to remove the bodies from the field, while Eve and Mark are overwhelmed by the gloating and talkative Conquest. That's plenty, but it's also one long similar note, and Otterly sustains it with more than a few three panel pages. Some stories are denser than this. But few are as visceral.
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