For its first four issues, Invincible Universe had single two-part story and a couple one-and-dones. While they definitely picked up where previous storylines in Guarding the Globe and Invincible proper left off, they were still pretty self-contained. That trend ends with issue 5, as editorial footnotes direct readers to check out Invincible #98-100 and, more importantly, Guarding the Globe Vol. 2: Hard to Kill. Here’s the official description from Image:
As the UN gathers to enforce the Dinosaurus Protocols, Cecil is pushed to the limit. Just who are those unsanctioned agents infiltrating North Korea?
While the issue opens with a light note —a band of gorillas in Guy Fawkes masks (isn’t that trademarked?)— thereafter it’s pretty serious. The Occupy movement and North Korea are front and center. Phil Hester doesn’t hesitate to directly reference these real-world issues, in contrast to the big two —especially DC— who typically come up with clever parody names to ensure they don’t get sued or become the center of a media firestorm. Hester is fairly politic in his treatment of the Occupy issue, but this fictional version of North Korea is unquestionably villainous. Unfortunately, the reliance on plot threads from the earlier series undermines the story. Readers like myself, who didn’t read any non-Invincible Invincible books before Universe will be able to understand what’s going on, but won’t fully appreciate it.
Todd Nauck‘s artwork is, not surprisingly, great, although many of the pages seem a bit crowded. It’s partly because the story is very full and partly because the backgrounds are almost excessively detailed in places, but it’s odd because Nauck usually excels at getting a lot of material on the page without things feeling cluttered. Otherwise, the figures are emotive and the action is clear. His art has a natural levity that simultaneously softens the tone and undermines the impact of the story.
Invincible and its companion books have always made a habit of referencing events from quite a while back, but they seem to be doing it more lately. That’s not a bad thing; it means the books are very well planned, are written with an acute awareness of in-universe history, or both. But continuity is so strong here that even not-so-recent initiates will be lost.
Zac Boone wonders if anyone ever died from having their computer overheat the interior of their car. Here’s his twitter.