Learning To Fly

A Spoiler-Free review of “Invincible”

Long time, no type for this reviewer. But, here I am again to delight with the written word on what is perhaps one of the best animated shows on television. Being an AMAZON ORIGINAL and having characters voiced by the like of Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, and J.K. Simmons, there really was no doubt that this show would knock it out of the park. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but I will say that you need to watch this as soon as possible before it is spoiled by the likes of twitter (To be honest, one of the main reasons I started watching was because of some twitter hype of a certain scene that happens towards the end episodes). Although I have never read the comic by Robert Kirkman, from what I have heard, it is very close to the source material (And the first season only gets through like 1/4th of it. Two new seasons have already been requested from Amazon, so yay).

To give a gist of what the show is, let’s just say it revolves around the Grayson family with Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) being our young teenage protaganist whose world is flipped upside down once he gains super powers that are akin to Superman in the DC universe. (The boy just wants to date and that’s very difficult to do when you have a side hustle of saving the distressed and beating up monsters). These powers of course being passed down from his father, Nolan Grayson aka Omni-Man, an alien from the planet Viltrum (voiced by J.K. Simmons) who had come to Earth, over 20 years before the start of our story, and who met Debbie Grayson (voiced by Sandra Oh) eventually marrying and starting a family.

I don’t want to go into the story much more than that, but I will say that this is a brutal show. It is very action-oriented with a great deal of violence being portrayed throughout every episode. This is not a superhero show for small children. Along with fantastic animation and a story that makes you stick to the edge of your seat, the character design along with the amount of characters we get to see is quite extraordinary as compared to other comic book adaptations, be it movies or shows, where the amount of heroes and villains is dependent on the budget (look no further than the original Deadpool movie with Ryan Reynolds throwing quite a few jokes at this). Robert Kirkman has built quite the world with this and it is a definite watch for both fans of INVINCIBLE and those who just love comics and/or good storytelling. Give it a watch before it’s spoiled for you. – YoungYoda

The Boys (Season 1): A Spoiler Summary & Review

What would you get if Superman had landed in the front yard of a government facility instead of the Kent’s farm? You’d get “The Boys”.  Basically, Amazon’s response to Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,”  “The Boys” is a gritty, reimagining of The Justice League that’s equal parts Watchmen and Brightburn with a dash of Batman V Superman. 

Viewers are thrown into a world where superheroes are not only real, but also commercialized thanks to the corporation Vought International and its vice president Madelyn Stillwell.  Vought’s main roster of superheroes is known as The Seven and each have their fair share of movies, merchandising, and public events to attend to.  Vought keeps a close eye on each hero to the point where crimes are basically staged, and a camera crew is there to capture every moment in order to get their heroes trending and the money flowing.  Vought’s main purpose though, is to get their heroes into the military and reap those billion-dollar contracts that come with it.  At Vought, heroes are made, not born…both socially and literally.  I’ll get to that “literally” part, later in the review.

The Seven

Now, to introduce The Seven (now, there are other superpowered individuals shown throughout the series, but these are the mains, the cream of the crop):

First, we have their leader, Homelander.  Shown as American as apple pie.  Homelander is basically the love child of Captain America and Superman.  Armed with a cape of the Stars and Stripes, heat vision, and no weaknesses, he is shown throughout the season as Vought’s enforcer and also their most marketable and valuable hero.  To the public, he is perfection, but we all have front row seats that show him taking down a government official’s plane, letting a plane full of people crash into the ocean, and spiraling into the insanity of a god-complex.

Second of The Seven is “The Deep,” who you can pretty much think of as Aquaman, if Aquaman was a serial harasser of women (so, like Great Value Aquaman).  His storyline is actually the catalyst that leads Annie January aka the newest member of The Seven (Third of our members if you’re keeping track), known as Starlight, to rebel against The Seven (more on that later).

Fourth is Queen Maeve, basically Wonder Woman if Wonder Woman had lost herself and the whole point of being a superhero.  Through the season we see Maeve in this constant battle to be a good hero or just continue doing the selfish deeds her group and Vought has demanded.

The Fifth of our super degenerates is Translucent whose skin is both as hard as diamonds and can turn invisible. However, to be completely invisible, no clothes are required and as Starlight states “Translucent has boundary issues”.

Sixth is Black Noir who has no speaking lines throughout the show and whose costume looks something akin to Spiderman: Far from Home’s “The Night Monkey” attire.

Last, but not least is our Seventh “hero” otherwise known as the world’s fastest man, A-Train, basically The Flash if he was hopped up on steroids.  I left A-Train last on our list because he can be thought of the main antagonist of this story since his brutal collision with Robin Ward sets off the events where The Seven become the hunted by “The Boys”.

The Boys

Now, “The Boys” are led by Billy Butcher, who throughout the season we’re led to believe is on a mission of vengeance against Homelander for the rape and murder of his wife, Becca.  His background is somewhat left to the imagination throughout the series, but we learn in the later episodes that he was CIA trained to bring down Homelander and has now made it his mission to rid the world of “supes”.  Billy, in his own words, realizes that just like The Spice Girls, individually he sucks, but with a group…he’d be unstoppable.  This leads him to our next protagonist, Hughie Campbell whose girlfriend was the aforementioned Robin Ward.  Hughie is the shy tech geek who is a non-confrontational character at the beginning of  the show, but we watch him become an essential part of the group with his ability to hack into apartment cameras, pulling the trigger on the pipe bomb that was shoved up Translucent’s ass (also the first kill on The Seven), and wooing Starlight.  Next up is the one who happened to figure out this weakness against Translucent, Frenchie.  Frenchie, with over 30 different aliases, is Butcher’s main go to when he needs munitions made, bunkers infiltrated, or the like, but who can never stick to the plan. However, he befriends another super who had been locked in a Chinese, drug den/basement, Kimiko. The last member of “The Boys” is Mother’s Milk who you can think of as Butcher’s right-hand man, that continually wants out, but is always pulled back into the mix/sh*t of Butcher’s gravity.

“The Boys” continually are the thorns in the sides of “The Seven” as they uncover the secret to the heroes’ powers, which is the substance known as Compound-V (who many of the “supes” also abuse, including A-Train).  They figure out that no heroes crash landed onto earth or were just born with their gifts.  No, Vought approached parents of newborns, offering them the chance to make sure that their little bundle of joy would have a special life, a super one.  From there, these children’s veins were pumped full of Compound-V.  Not only that, Vought was also creating super villains by going to war torn nations on America’s terrorist watch lists and giving the compound to those children in order to create an image where their “heroes” would be necessities on the battlefield.  Unfortunately, these revelations are too little, too late as a bill allowing “The Seven” into the military passes through Congress.

Cliff Hanger

So, if you’ve read this far, I’ll let know where “The Boys” are left at the end of this great season.  Butcher, going basically on a suicide mission, has his whole plan to hit at Homelander’s weakness, Madelyn Stillwell, basically…umm…torched.  Madelyn, strapped into a vest with enough C-4 to level Jersey, has her face melted inward (it’s pretty gruesome, no lie) by Homelander who had become jealous of the attention that was taken from him and given to her newborn, Teddy.  Now, Butcher seeing that he now had no bargaining chip, lifts his finger and detonates the vest.  The next scene we see Butcher waking up, unharmed, on a lush, green lawn with Homelander right there wishing him a good morning.  Who happens to own this lawn?  None other than the thought-deceased Becca Butcher who walks out of the house with her son, the apparent love child of her and Homelander…DRAMA ALERT.

Hughie, Frenchie, and Mother’s Milk make it out somewhat all intact after a rescue mission to save Kimiko with Starlight making her decision to be one of the good one’s and protecting the four from A-Train who, in a large dose of karma, has a heart attack while trying to murder/maim Hughie.  Hughie then shows his compassion, performing CPR on A-Train and Starlight then taking over telling Hughie he must leave before any others of The Seven find him.

So, yeah…colossal cliff hangers.  I guess it’s a good thing the show got renewed for a Season Two before Season One even dropped.

The Verdict

In my opinion, if you’re a lover of comics and comic book movies (specifically DC and The Watchmen), then this is a must watch.  This show can be thought of as a sandwich of amazing ideas.  The two slices of bread, one being the imagery we saw in Batman V Superman, where Batman, just a human with no special powers, watches Superman’s collateral damage in the act of “saving” the city and the other slice being from The Watchmen where heroes begin thinking that they’re actual gods and humans are beneath them.  In between these slices is great visuals, dialogue, acting, and a story where it’s not just your typical superhero black and white, but all kinds of shades of gray.  Also, with the first season only being 8 episodes, it never seems to drag like other shows with 12 or 13 episodes.  It’s also a story of the underdogs who ban together to stop a seemingly unstoppable force.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good underdog story?  Anyways, I give this series a solid 9.5 out of 10. (The only reason I took off half a point is because Haley Joel Osment’s appearance made me realize how old I really am.  Dope beard though).  Let us know what you thought of the first season of “The Boys”. YoungYoda out.