Invincible season 2 continues one of the greatest superhero stories ever told, building upon the previously-established foundations in incredibly exciting ways.
If there’s one thing Marvel movies have taught us, it’s that superheroes almost always win. They always end up with their love interest, they always save the city and they always, in the end, defeat the bad guy, no matter how strong they’re built up to be. That’s not the case in Invincible, a show whose main protagonist (Steven Yeun) is repeatedly shown to be anything but, losing almost every fight he partakes in. In the world of Invincible season 2, it’s not as simple as “the superhero always wins”, sometimes, as sad as it is, there’s just nothing they can do. What happens when the people who pride themselves on being able to save everyone have to deal with the realisation that, no matter how hard they try, they just can’t?
One of the most fascinating things about Invincible season 2 is how it deals with the aftermath of the first season’s phenomenal finale. The former superhero Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons) has abandoned Earth for unknown reasons after betraying everyone and brutally slaughtering millions, leaving the planet’s superheroes in serious disarray. His family, consisting of wife Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh) and his son Mark, the titular Invincible, don’t know how to feel. Debbie, resigned to the fact that she’ll probably never see her husband again, chooses to treat the situation as if he died, attending group grieving seasons, whilst Mark, knowing that he’ll probably encounter his father in space someday, just wants to get back to normal. It’s heartbreaking to see the damage that Omni-Man has left on everything after the first season, and the show does a great job on building upon the foundations of what came before it.
That sense of building luckily isn’t just limited to the main cast. Invincible rewards those who remember the first season vividly, bringing back almost every possible loose end in one way or another, and even bringing back some that you might not have realised were loose ends in the first place. Potentially the best thing the show has going for it is its worldbuilding, which has long since surpassed just feeling like a parody of other superhero universes and become something that’s both incredibly interesting whilst staying accessible.
You’re never getting thrown too much information in a way that’s overwhelming, rather the show takes its time establishing elements that it then revisits down the line and adds upon. It’s a slow and patient way of telling this obviously massive story and crafting this expansive world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ideally, we’d get 10+ seasons of Invincible.
It’s also worth addressing the elephant in the room, if you’ve paid any attention to social media posts regarding the show, and that’s the fact that season 2 introduces the multiverse. Whilst the first four episodes given to critics didn’t cover too much of this plotline, what we did get to see looked remarkably promising, using the increasingly common trope of the multiverse less as a way to force in fan service and instead as the background for a new, major threat in Invincible’s life. That threat comes in the form of Angstrom Levy (Sterling K. Brown), whose appearances so far have promised a very different kind of villain to the ones we’ve seen so far, helped massively by his rather unique skill set and methods.
In some ways, Angstrom Levy sums up Invincible season 2 pretty well. Just like the first season, this isn’t the most original thing in the world. We get so much superhero media nowadays that creating anything remotely fresh in the genre feels like an impossible task from the get-go. Instead, Invincible goes down a different route, taking what works from other stories and characters and refining them, building upon them and finding interesting spins on them. What we end up with is something that’s so much greater than the sum of its parts: a superhero show that is content with just being that and so can completely focus on simply delivering one of the best stories the genre has ever produced.
Every element that fans enjoyed about the first is present in season 2, and if anything, improved upon. The voice acting has never been better, the animation feels far more consistent and high quality, and the storytelling, now that we’ve settled into this world, is even more relentless and breath-taking. Honestly, I can’t think of a better recent comic-book adaptation than this, one which completely understands superheroes and how to tell mature, emotional and complex stories with them at the centre. This isn’t just another superhero cartoon, Invincible might just be the superhero cartoon. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate it, it’s absolutely worth a watch.
Invincible Season 2 will be streaming on Prime Video from November 3, 2023.