Review: Invincible Volume 14: The Viltrumite War

Published on May 10th, 2011

After 70 issues of Invincible, Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley have finally gotten to the story they’ve been building up since the series started, The Viltrumite War. This is one of the few trade paperbacks I’ve purchased where I actually own and have read the individual issues as well. The only time I ever do this is for stories that I really enjoyed and plan on reading over and over again. Also, I thought volume 14 would be a good book to feature for Trade Tuesday.

invinciblevol14So, we all know that Invincible and his father, Omni-Man are part of an alien race known as The Viltrumites, who are dead set on taking over the entire universe because they feel they’re entitled to rule. But, when the Coalition of Planets learns that there’s less than fifty full-blooded Viltrumites in the entire universe, they figure now is the best chance they’re ever going to get to bring these guys down. Allen the Alien then decides to recruit Invincible, Omni-Man, Young Omni-Man, and Tech-Jacket to help defeat the Viltrumites.

Let me break the book down for you in the most basic way I can. It starts off with a ton of bloody awesome action, then there’s a lot of talking with some story to kind of fill things out. Finally, we get some more super awesome action and enough red ink to make you think Ottley only had a red sharpie to draw with, followed by some more talking and an ending that left me with a feeling of emptiness inside.

That probably came out more negative than I intended it to, but hear me out. If you read The Walking Dead, you know that Kirkman is a sadist and the way The Viltrumite War comes out, especially when you read it all at once, he’s taking you on this emotional roller coaster. This is the biggest fight Invincible has ever been a part of and Kirkman makes a point that this isn’t just some superhero fight, this is full on war. The first big battle involves Invincible taking on Conquest who, up to this point, is the most powerful person Mark has ever fought. At the end of the battle, Mark comes out on top, but he ends up taking weeks to recover to get back into the war. This kind of calms things down, but at the same time we learn a lot about Omin-Man and Oliver and it gives them the chance to bond. Then we’re thrown back into the war and when things are looking their best, the war ends. Just not the way we expected it to, or how we wanted it to. When the story ended, it just left me wondering, “What are they going to do now?”

As far as the book itself goes, this is a pretty nice collection and it’s the only Invincible trade that is not named after a sitcom. It collects issues 71 through 78, so this is a pretty big trade. I also think that reading this story as one trade makes it a better read. Especially considering how many delays there were when the issues came out originally. I’m not saying they should have hurried it up because this is a top notch story and I’m sure they needed the extra time to get this done right. Ottley’s art, as always, is absolutely amazing. The scale of some of the artwork is astounding and this book probably contains some of the best stuff he’s ever put out. I pray to God that he doesn’t burn any of the original pages from this. As always, the trade ends with a behind the scenes look with commentary from Kirkman, Ottley, and even a little from the original artist, Cory Walker. The book retails for about $19.99, which is not a bad price for 8 issues, but Amazon is selling it for under 13, so I recommend getting it sooner than later.

Ken Zeider