The time jump that Invincible took several issues back has had plenty of ups and downs thus far. The last issue we got back in November was not the best showing for the new status quo for Mark Grayson and his supporting cast. The biggest problem with Invincible #131 was that it was extremely dull even with how much new life the time jump injected into the series prior to that issue. Now that we are entering the final year of Invincible comics hopefully Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker can start the year strong by turning around how things ended in 2016. Will that be the case with Invincible #132? Let’s find out.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Cory Walker
Colorist: Nathan Faibairn
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Invincible tries to save Terra as she is falling to the ground. Unfortunately, Onaan is able to hold him back no matter how hard Invincible tries to break away.
As Terra continues to fall to the ground she suddenly stops and realizes she has the ability to fly. While Terra is happy at first she quickly loses control of her new power and flies around uncontrollably.
Terra suddenly stops and sees, much to her horror, that Thragg has grabbed her leg. Terra tries to kick Thragg away but is unsuccessful.
Thragg praises Terra for the strength she shows and rewards the crying Terra by starting to squeeze her head. Before Thragg can kill her Oliver tackles him from out of nowhere. Oliver tells Terra to go find her father.
Elsewhere, Invincible continues to struggle to break Onaan’s grasp on him. Invincible resorts to biting Onaan and follows that up with a sucker punch that severely hurts his foe. He then flies off to look for Terra
At the Grayson family vacation home, Atom Eve continues to use her powers to hold off Ursaal as best she can. Just as Ursaal breaks through Atom Eve’s defenses Invincible arrives and quickly slams Terra’s head through the ground.
Invincible waste no time and tells Atom Eve that they have to go look for Terra as she has disappeared.
On another part of the planet, Thragg has turned the tables on Oliver and slams him into a nearby mountain. As Thragg continues to drive Oliver across the mountain he expresses his disappointment that Oliver was never truly loyal to the Thraxan-Viltrumites.
Terra tries to save her uncle but instead suffers a broken leg when she kicks Thragg from behind.
Oliver quickly attacks Thragg before he can hurt Terra. Thragg is quick to counterattack and grabs ahold of Oliver once again. While unable to break Thragg’s grasp Oliver states that Thragg has always been resentful that the blood of Argall courses through Oliver’s family’s veins. Thragg counters Oliver’s statement by punching Oliver through his stomach, killing him in an instant.
Terra is horrified after seeing her uncle die right in front of her. Thragg feints showing Terra sympathy as he awaits her parents’ arrival.
Invincible and Atom Eve don’t take long and arrive with Invincible holding a severely beaten Onaan by his neck. Invincible tells Thragg that he can exchange Onaan for Terra’s safety.
Thragg mentions that even though Oliver was secretly working for him, Oliver was weak because of his love for his family. Thragg mocks Invincible for his heroic qualities and says that he will not hesitate to kill them all.
Invincible crushes Onaan by his neck and attacks Thragg while Atom Eve checks on Terra. Ursaal suddenly attacks Atom Eve from behind and begins to fight her. Invincible and Atom Eve struggle to fight Thragg and Ursaal, respectively. The short battle ends with Thragg ripping Invincible in half and Ursaal destroying Atom Eve’s jaw.
Thragg tells Ursaal to leave Atom Eve to die in front of her daughter along with Invincible. Thragg and Ursaal grab Onaan’s body and fly away, leaving a crying Terra behind to mourn over her parents’ bloodied bodies.
Atom Eve’s full powers suddenly activate and she is able to heal herself and Invincible, repairing both of their battle damages.
Eve uses her powers to heal Terra’s broken leg. Invincible wonders if Eve made him stronger when she repaired both their bodies, which she did a little bit. Terra wonders if Eve can help her Uncle Oliver but Eve says that it is unfortunately too late to save him.
Invincible blames himself for ignoring what he should’ve been doing by fighting Thragg earlier. He tells Atom Eve that they have to go back to end things. Atom Eve agrees that they have to fight back. End of issue.
The Good: As weak as the previous issue of this series was Invincible #132 is a big step in the right direction as we begin the march toward the end of the series. Unlike issue #131, this issue made the battle of Invincible and Atom Eve going up against the Onaan and Ursaal something as a reader I was able to engage with. This turnaround not only helps make this two-issue arc much more interesting, it also sets the stage for even bigger stories down the road.
A big factor in the turnaround for this two-issue arc was the introduction of Oliver and Thragg into the conflict between Invincible’s family and Onaan and Ursaal. What makes their involvement elevate what was previously a boring fight was the final outcome with Thragg killing Oliver. That action is the biggest momentum mover that this series has had since the time jump to place. Now Mark has an added reason to focus on stopping Thragg for good rather than putting all his effort into readjusting to his new family life.
This new motivation for Mark was nicely shown by how he threatens to kill Onaan if Thragg didn’t leave Terra alone after he killed Oliver. This show of tapping into his darker side is something that Mark has needed after everything that has happened to him and his family. Now how much Kirkman actually plays with Mark not holding back will be interesting to see as the story now shifts to become an all-out war with Thragg.
While this added motivation for Invincible was needed, the star of this issue was Thragg. As he has shown anytime he is on screen with Invincible or another person he sees as a threat, Thragg’s show of force was incredibly impressive. It’s been clear through everything we’ve seen Thragg do and how scared everyone is of his power, that he is a villain that superheroes can joke around with. He made that clear by not only killing Oliver but leaving Invincible and Atom Eve in near-death states while Terra is left to cry over her parents’ bloodied bodies.
Speaking of Terra, Kirkman did a good job making Invincible #132 a big issue for her character. Not only did we see her finally show that she has the same powers as her dad but she was forced to witness the possible death of her parents. Hopefully with how intense are sure to get with the war the universe will have with Thragg that we see more character growth from Terra. The series will need it now that Oliver has literally been taken off the table.
Cory Walker was as strong as he has always been. The break gave him some time to make this issue a little bit more detailed. This issue was much gorier than the previous issue. Walker effectively got over how brutal Thragg is as he showed no mercy in punching through Oliver and ripping Invincible in half. He also delivered when it came to the emotional beats in this issue. That was best shown when Invincible threaten to kill Onaan as Walker perfectly captured the intensity in Mark’s face when making the threat.
The Bad: One thing that keeps Invincible #132 from being a great issue is how quickly the major damage Thragg did to Invincible and Atom Eve. While it is cool to see Atom Eve regain access to her full powers this needs to be the last time we see this deus ex machina power come into play. Far too often we have seen Invincible, Atom Eve, and other characters suffer horrific damage, even by comic book standards, and still walk away with minimal damage. If this war with Thragg is going to mean something then we need to see the characters actually have lasting damage to show how intense the battles are. If not we will get a case like Invincible #132 with Mark and Eve getting back up as if nothing happened to their bodies.
The other problem that kept this issue back was the lack of development of whatever Oliver was doing with Thragg. While we did see how Oliver was secretly working for Thragg there was never enough information about what they were getting from one another to make their fight have the impact it should. It’s one of those cases where Kirkman has so much going on with the current Invincible comic that he needs to start condensing things so it’s easier for us to remain connected to all of the plot points. If he doesn’t refine them then there will be a lot lost in terms of impact when we circle back to developing sub-plots, like this Oliver/Thragg secret team-up we learned several issues back.
Overall: Invincible #132 was a major step in the right direction as we march toward Robert Kirkman’s endgame for this series. The death of Invincible’s brother, Oliver, propels the war with Thragg to the forefront series. The impact of this development is perfectly illustrated by Cory Walker’s artwork throughout this issue. Now that Invincible has a greater reason to defeat Thragg things should only get more intense for Mark Grayson and his family moving forward.