May 23, 2024

Teen hero returns for a second helping of heavy-hitting action and powerful emotions

Justin Sau in Hong Kong
Rating: filled star filled star filled star filled star empty star

Article link copied.

slide image

Robert Kirkman, writer of the 'Invincible' comic book series.

Picture by: Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Based on the comic-book series of the same name, Invincible hit Amazon Prime in early 2021.

The below contains full spoilers of 'Invincible'

What seemed like an average animated superhero series – at least to those unfamiliar with the source material, like me – subverted everyone’s expectations with a dark, gritty turn in the mid-credits scene of the very first episode.

Invincible soon garnered global acclaim for its bold animation, invigorating action, and evocative voice performances.

The series follows teenager Mark Grayson, the son of the most powerful superhero in the world, Nolan Grayson, aka Omni-Man. Shortly after turning 17, Mark develops powers of his own, becoming the eponymous superhero Invincible.

Yet as we follow the Grayson family, we learn that Omni-Man is not the hero he says he is – in fact, he’s a member of the alien Viltrumite Empire bent on intergalactic conquest. The first season ended with a brutal fight between Mark and his father.


Bizarrely, Amazon Prime chose to split the second season into two parts. Having to wait more than two years between the first and second season was hard. A nearly five month hiatus between parts was torture.

Released in November of 2023, the second season picks up where the last season left off. Mark and his mother Debbie are forced to grapple with the gaping emotional wreckage that remains.

Part one deals deftly with the emotional nitty-gritty, bringing a weighty focus to the first four episodes. Debbie Grayson goes on a particularly compelling journey, facing the truth of what Nolan did mostly on her own and confronting her conflicting emotions.

Mark’s journey is no less powerful. Dealing with the implications of who he is, caught between rejecting his father and becoming him, Mark jumps back into the superhero world, and we follow his struggles with his responsibilities and his roles as a son, boyfriend, and student.

Despite losing momentum because of the gap between the two sections, part two managed to hit the ground running, albeit somewhat clumsily. Several characters are powerfully fleshed out, particularly Rex Splode, Atom Eve, and Allen the Alien.

However, part two felt too concerned with setting up larger storylines and subplots. Despite promises from readers of the original comic that they would all weave together smoothly, I found the rapidly expanding multiverse a little disorienting and unstructured.

Season one was better for being smaller in scope; it had a tighter focus and more carefully carved out space for the development of each character.

Though there were some outstanding character arcs, the focus is on the Grayson family, and the show tends to suffer when they aren’t on screen. Additionally, season two has a marked absence of Nolan Grayson, apart from episode four and minor screen time in episode eight.

Though the emotional core of season two is strong, it lacks some of the presence and gravitas that Omni-Man brings whenever he’s on screen.

That said, the action sequences are frequently thrilling and imaginative. Some of the best animation yet is on display in the fast-paced, high-octane – and often gory – scenes. Mark’s battle with Viltrumite Anissa and multiversal anti-hero Angstrom Levy are particular highlights.

Finally, the voice acting remains utterly incredible. Steven Yeun (Mark) and Sandra Oh (Debbie) display remarkable prowess, perfectly displaying moments of intense grief, anger, and vulnerability.

JK Simmons is always magnetic as Omni-Man, despite his limited screen time. Sterling K Brown (Angstrom Levy) is another standout performance, with impressive menace and venom in his voice.

The star-studded supporting cast, including Gillian Jacobs, Zazie Beetz, and Walton Goggins, also deliver powerful performances, elevating the show to new heights.

Though not as powerful as the first season, season two of Invincible manages to stay fairly steady in terms of quality, with even the weaker episodes being resonant and exciting. I just hope we won’t have to wait another two years for the next season.

Written by:


Justin Sau

Culture editor

Hong Kong, SAR

Born in 2007, Justin studies in Hong Kong at the HKIS. Fluent in English and Mandarin, he is interested in journalism, English literature, history, and sports.

Justin joined Harbinger’s Magazine in 2023 as a contributor, writing predominantly about culture. In 2024, he took over the Culture section of the magazine.

Edited by:


Jefferson He


London, United Kingdom


Create an account to continue reading

A free account will allow you to bookmark your favourite articles and submit an entry to the Harbinger Prize 2024.

You can also sign up for the Harbingers’ Weekly Brief newsletter.