After last issue’s reveal that Robot and Monster Girl are technically 700 years old, you may have been wondering what they did for all that time. Invincible #93 has (some of) the answers. Here’s the official description from Image:
More secrets about Robot’s and Monster Girl’s time spent in the Flaxan Dimension are revealed. Meanwhile, in the present – things go to hell, and the new Invincible has to prove if he’s worthy of the mantle in the face of… INVASION.
The narrative this issue is once again divided between past and present. Like the description says, Robert Kirkman continues to show us what happened to Robot and Monster Girl during their centuries-long imprisonment, while they and the other heroes battle what appears to be a Flaxan invasion of London in the present. Robot in particular has difficulty accepting this, as he remains convinced that he and Monster Girl did irreparable damage to the Flaxans before escaping. Mark, meanwhile, remains sidelined by his injuries and lack of powers.
The conceptual hook of this issue is definitely Robot’s plan to escape from the Flaxans, which he’s able to lay out centuries in advance, thanks to the differences in the flow of time between the two dimensions. The second half of the book, set in the present, is almost completely taken up by the battle in London. The imbalance between the narration-heavy first part and action heavy second part is a bit jarring, as the pacing is slow (literally spread out over decades) in the beginning, before ramping up to high speed toward the end.
As with the last issue, Ryan Ottley shares the art burden with original series artist Cory Walker, who handles the scenes in the Flaxan dimension. Walker’s lines are very fine and feel unhurried, but also lack dynamism. He also inks his own work, but skimps on several pages, resulting in a lack of contrast. Ottley’s pages, meanwhile, have contrast and dynamism in spades, although the lines are a bit heavy-handed. It’s a good way to distinguish past from present, but the differences somewhat exacerbate the pacing problems I mentioned before.
Two back-to-back two-page spreads by Ottley really dominate the art this issue. Each shows the battle of London from the same viewpoint, creating a flip-book effect as you turn the page. You’ll inevitably turn back and forth, comparing the differences between the scenes. It’s interesting to see the progression of the battle, but it also hogs a lot of space that could be used for story progression.
Invincible #93 has some strong concepts on both the writing and art fronts, but it sometimes feels cobbled together.