The premiere episode of Amazon’s Invincible capped off its charming origin story with Omni-Man brutally slaughtering the Guardians of the Globe. Next up is the fall out from that incident along with Mark learning to navigate his new life as a superhero while still in high school.
As always, this recap will contain plenty of spoilers.
The episode opens with one of the White House security guards from last week in London with his stepson. As the pair marvel at Buckingham palace, the trash bag Mark accidentally threw into orbit when he discovered his powers comes crashing back down to earth. The stepson calls out to his stepfather before shoving him out of its path to safety. After the initial shock of the incident wears off, the security guard is overcome by the boy finally calling him “dad.”
We then jump from that touching moment to the bloody aftermath of Omini-Man’s attack on the Guardians of the Globe. A retrieval team bursts in and begins trying to recover whoever and whatever they can. Unfortunately, it appears that the only Guardian with a chance of survival is the Immortal, whose head is gathered and stored in a containment unit.
While they attempt to tamp down on their shock and do their jobs, one of them excitedly informs everyone that Omni-Man is still alive. As they carry him out, two men dressed in suits (Cecil Stedman and Donald Ferguson) arrive and survey the scene. Cecil takes one look at the dead heroes around him and screams in anger.
Invincible (Amazon Studios)
Later, Deborah awakens to find that Nolan isn’t there. She assumes he’s out saving the world (as usual) and begins getting ready for the day. Just as she and Mark are about to leave the house, two men from the Global Defense Agency (the secret government branch that works with super humans to keep the world safe) show up at her door.
After driving the pair to the Pentagon, Donald takes them to the GDA’s headquarters hidden underneath the building. Mark marvels at the organization’s advanced technology and wonders aloud why his father never mentioned them before. Donald explains that their mission is to work with superheroes like Omni-Man to keep earth safe without being noticed.
Donald then takes them to the room where Nolan is being treated for his injuries. When Mark asks who did this to his father, Cecil (who was standing in the corner) replies that they don’t know yet, but they’re working to find out. He then introduces himself to Mark as the director of the GDA.
Deborah, who clearly knows him, demands an explanation for why her husband is in such terrible shape. Cecil responds by telling them that the entire Guardians of the Globe team was murdered the night before — information that has yet to be revealed to the general public. They still have no idea who did it, but the list of suspects includes a multitude of supervillains who’d want the world’s premiere superhero team dead.
After Deborah insists on staying to take care of her husband, Cecil gets a call about a supervillain attack in the city.
*Side Note: The fictional metropolis is never named, but it’s basically a giant composite of America’s biggest cities that is also very close to Washington D.C.
As you might imagine, this stresses Cecil out quite a bit more than usual considering their recent losses. Unbeknownst to him, Mark makes the decision to pick up some of the slack.
Invincible arrives on the scene to find an advanced extraterrestrial army pouring through a portal and laying waste to fleeing citizens and responding police officers. When he attempts to command them to stop, a laser blast knocks him back and rings his bell. He also finds himself covered in other people’s blood and more citizens getting slaughtered by the second, which causes him to panic.
After taking a moment to gather himself, Invincible sees an old woman about to get gunned down by one of the aliens and whips him across the face with a piece of road debris. Now bearing a nasty looking scar, the alien angrily commands the other troops to focus their attack on Invincible, who quickly scoops up the woman and attempts to fly away. Unfortunately, the aliens manage to hit him with with a barrage of lasers, causing them both to fall into a pit.
As Invincible looks with horror at her mangled body, the scarred alien gets into a tank and focuses a supercharged blast at the human who maimed his face. Thankfully, Invincible is saved when a pink shield forms seemingly out of nowhere and deflects the blast. Turns out that the person who created it was Atom Eve, another superhero and a member of the Teen Team — a loose proxy of the Teen Titans who have arrived to save the day.
The Teen Team’s members include:
- Atom Eve: Flight, telekinesis, and can manipulate matter at a subatomic level. Basically has the powers of Green Lantern and Jean Grey combined, but much more mentally stable.
- Rex Splode: Super strength, freakish athleticism, and can charge objects to explode like Gambit from the X-Men. He’s also a colossal douche like Gambit, as well.
- Dupli-Kate: Basically a female version of Multiple Man.
- Robot: Is a robot. Also a brilliant tactician and exceptional fighter.
As the Teen Team gets to work beating back the invaders, Atom Eve commands a star stuck Invincible to get the woman he was carrying to a hospital.
The Teen Team fights admirably, but are quickly overmatched. Just when it appears they’re about to be defeated, the aliens suddenly begin to age at an alarming rate. Many of them die right there on the spot while the rest of the invading force retreats back into the portal, which disappears behind them.
Meanwhile, Invincible flies back to the GDA base below the Pentagon and begs for someone to help the woman he attempted to save. He’s immediately surrounded by guards who were previously invisible. After doctors rush into to help the woman, the guards clear Invincible to be in the building and recloak themselves.
Later, Deborah finds her blood-covered son kneeling beside his unconscious father. She comforts him as he laments not being able to save the day like Omni-Man has so many times before.
The next day at school, Mark can barely focus due to the insanity/trauma he’s experienced over the last 24 hours. He tells his best friend Will that his dad is in the hospital without giving anyway any details. As Will comforts him, Mark notices a classmate named Eve Wilkins and realizes that she’s Atom Eve.
When Mark thanks her for saving him the previous day, Eve realizes that he’s the novice hero she and the Teen Team encountered — and that he knows her secret identity. She also realizes that Mark needs to process/talk about what happened and invites him to come with her up to the school’s roof.
Meanwhile, Amber overhears some girls talking about Mark, who tell her about how he stood up to Todd on her behalf again.
Once they’re alone, Eve explains that since no one expects to see a famous superhero at school, no one ever suspects her of being Atom Eve.
*Side Note: Flimsy logic, but let’s roll with it.
After easily deducing that Mark is new to the superhero game, she assures him that everyone gets afraid and freezes when they first start out — even her. She then invites him to come meet the Teen Team after school that day.
Back in the city, Cecil commends Robot and the Teen Team for repelling the aliens who attacked it. Robot reveals that he reversed engineered the aliens language and learned what they call themselves: Flaxans. Based on the Flaxans’ rapid aging and all their ships rusting within hours, the pair deduce that time on their home planet moves at a much faster rate than ours.
When Cecil asks about Invincible, Robot replies that the new hero has promise, but seems woefully unprepared for the job.
Following that conversation, Cecil teleports over to the Guardians of the Globe headquarters, which is still covered in blood and gore. Donald informs him that whoever perpetrated the attack also knocked out the base’s security and surveillance systems.
As Cecil begins ranting about what an awful situation this is, he notices the air inside the room getting cold and begins to see his breath. After ordering everyone but Donald to leave, he tells an unseen entity to reveal himself. That entity turns out to be Damian Darkblood, a demon detective who can see flashes of a murder/attack by making contact with the resulting carnage.
Unfortunately, his visions only show him the attacks and not who was behind them (OF COURSE!).
Back at Reginald Vel Johnson High School, Amber approaches Mark and thanks him for standing up to Todd on her behalf again. She attempts to flirt with him, but Mark is too distracted by his upcoming meeting/flight lesson with Atom Eve.
After taking him on a soaring path through the city, the pair land on a building with a secret entrance into the Teen Team’s base.
Upon their arrival, Rex greets Atom Eve with a kiss, confirming they’re a couple and completely crushing Invincible’s hopes and dreams. After everyone is introduced to each other, Robot tells them what he recently learned about the Flaxans. He also shows them an early warning system he developed to alert the team before another invasion occurs.
After explaining that the GDA wants the Teen Team to be on call due to the Guardians of the Globe being MIA (which Mark remains silent about), he asks Invincible if they can count on him to help. He quickly agrees — partially out of a sense of duty, but mostly because of his crush on Atom Eve.
Later, Mark goes to visit/tend to his ailing father. After talking to his mom about how unprepared he was for the ugly parts of being a superhero, he goes to visit the woman he saved during the Flaxan attack. The doctor tells her she’s stable, but it’s still not clear if she’ll make it or not.
Meanwhile, Robot’s Flaxan detection device begins to sound an alarm.
The next day at school, Will chastises Mark for giving up on Eve simply because she has a douchebag boyfriend. As the two boys bicker, Eve gets an alert on her phone and subtly motions for Mark to leave school and suit up.
After excusing himself from the lunch table, Amber sits down and asks Will if Eve and Mark are an item. Will responds that they aren’t while happily getting to work on setting his best friend up with someone else.
After meeting up with the Teen Team (and some accusatory posturing from Rex Splode about how friendly Mark and Eve seem), Robot directs their attention to a new portal with Flaxans streaming out of it. The invasion group, which is led by the alien Mark scarred during their last encounter, does not appear to be aging rapidly like before. Robot theorizes that they discovered a way to counteract it during the decades they had to prepare for a new attack (which would have only been three days of our time).
The Teen Team engages the Flaxans and are quickly outmatched. Invincible is knocked back by a barrage of heavy laser fire before getting trapped and cornered by the Scarred Flaxan, who laughs at his misfortune. The general then notices his concern over Atom Eve and goes to kill her. Before he can, however, Invincible’s fear/anger results in a surge of power, allowing him to break free and plow through a large portion of the invading force. He then pile drives the Scarred Flaxan into a building and begins wailing on him.
After beating the absolute hell out of the alien general, Invincible runs over and rips off a mechanical device attached to Atom Eve’s face that was keeping her from breathing. As he’s checking to make sure she’s okay, Robot notices that Invincible’s attack destroyed a wrist band that the Scarred Flaxan was wearing, which in turn caused him to begin aging. After directing the other team members to begin destroying the aliens’ wristbands, Robot manages to snag one and reverses its frequency, causing the entire invasion force to rapidly age/die.
As the Flaxans retreat, Rex Splode commends Invincible for not freezing up this time while also mocking him for going “psycho” on the Scarred Flaxan. Atom Eve tries to stand up for him, but he gets a phone call and says he needs to depart immediately, earning the ire of Rex Splode for leaving them to deal with the clean up.
Mark arrives back at the GDA base, where he’s overjoyed to see that his father is awake and feeling better. After telling Nolan about his adventures during the last few days, he goes to check on the woman he saved only to discover that she passed away.
Nolan tells his son that losing people you try to save is just “part of the job,” which clearly doesn’t sit well with him. He then confronts the hospital receptionist and demands that the GDA return his costume no matter how torn up it is.
Deborah observes her husband’s odd behavior with concern.
As the world continues to wonder where the Guardians of the Globe went, Mark resumes training with his father. They’re interrupted by Cecil, who tells Nolan that a hostile alien life form is nearing earth’s atmosphere and they need his help. When Deborah refuses to let them put her husband back into the field so soon into his recovery, Mark offers to go in his father’s place. Deborah obviously isn’t thrilled about the idea, but Nolan wholeheartedly approves.
After entering orbit above earth, Invincible is engaged by a one-eyed alien who is somehow able to speak to him telepathically. After a few minutes of brawling, the alien ceases his attack when Invincible asks if they can simply talk (and admits that he doesn’t even know who he is).
Turns out that the extraterrestrial invader (whose name is Allen) is actually an evaluation officer for something called the Coalition of Planets. His job is to make sure that every planet has someone ready and willing to defend it. Unfortunately, it turns out that the planet he was supposed to go to was Urath, not Earth.
After an embarrassed apology, Allen wishes Invincible well and departs, assuring him that they will see each other again as long as he doesn’t get fired.
Back on Earth, Nolan angrily informs Cecil that he’s already told him everything he “remembers” from the attack:
- Received a distress call from the Guardians of the Globe.
- Everything seemed fine when he arrived.
- The lights went out and someone attacked him.
Cecil is clearly skeptical of someone being able to take down Omni-Man so easily, but still doesn’t suspect him of being the perpetrator.
At school the next day, Todd confronts Mark only to apologize for attacking him before. He also gives him Amber’s phone number on her behalf, explaining that she blackmailed him into the task via some old photos of him that she had.
After Todd storms off, Mark’s elation is interrupted by a call from Eve informing him that the Flaxans have returned, this time with even more advanced weaponry and anti-aging technology.
As the Teen Team rushes to take on the newest invasion force, Robot declares that the battle is unwinnable and suggests they contact Cecil to call in a nuclear strike. Invincible and the others refuse to give up so easily (even Rex Splode) and engage the enemy. Invincible initially does well, but is stopped cold by a cybernetically enhanced Scarred Flaxan.
Just when it appears that the alien is about to kill him, Omini-Man appears and pulls the alien off his son. He then proceeds to easily (and singlehandedly) beat back the invading force with remarkable ease. As the rest of the Flaxans retreat, Omni-Man pile drives the Scarred Flaxan into one of the portals, which closes behind both of them. Invincible calls out to his father, revealing his relation to Omni-Man to the rest of the Teen Team.
When Mark arrives home and tells his mother what happened, she is unconcerned, explaining that Nolan fighting aliens in another dimension is a fairly routine occurrence. Unbeknownst to them, Omni-Man is in the process of slaughtering nearly the entire Flaxan home world.
When he returns home, Nolan is surprised to see the news finally reporting that the Guardians of the Galaxy are dead.
In a mid-credits scene, Damian Darkblood informs Cecil of his theory that Omni-Man or one of the Guardians was behind the attack. Cecil blows off his theory, but still has Donald put a surveillance team on the Grayson home.
While we still haven’t quite gotten to the great character and story arcs that made the Invincible comic series so good, the seeds are definitely being planted. What this episode did give us, however, were some much more interesting/impactful character introductions. There’s no doubt that the Guardians’ shadow will loom large over the series’ first season, but the members of Teen Team do much more to drive the narrative forward.
About the only thing to dislike about them is Rex Splode — and not by design due to the behavior of his character. It still doesn’t make any sense how someone as smart and confident as Atom Eve ends up with a gigantic douchenozzle. And aside from the kiss they exchanged during Mark’s visit, we see no evidence of them being a couple aside from the fact they say they are. Otherwise, Eve appears to despise him, which is a completely understandable position.
Other than that, however, the members of Teen Team are well defined and interesting. Atom Eve is going to be the obvious favorite for most folks (or me at least), but Robot makes an even better comedy straight man than I remember from the comic.
The action sequences are also much better this time around. In addition to some improved animation, the battles are significantly more brutal than the highly stylized brawl from last episode’s opening. Certainly not as bloody/gory as Omini-Man’s murder of the Guardians, but close.
It might seem like all the blood and guts are there only for shock value, but in reality the gore serves as a stark reminder of the stakes and intensity of what’s happening. This isn’t a battle between major corporate properties where everyone is going to come out unscathed except for maybe one preselected villain or tragic hero. Fights between enhanced individuals and advanced/hostile alien races result in large and often heartbreaking amounts of collateral damage.
As far as the Omni-Man mystery goes, I could see why someone who doesn’t know what’s coming could be frustrated at this point–especially with the introduction of Damian Darkblood, who’s a ridiculous character even without taking into account that he’s supposed to be making fun of a trope.
I’m all for the audience knowing something most of the characters don’t, but that can get tiresome when they all appear to be so oblivious to things. Even Cecil’s eventual decision to have Omni-Man watched was partially because he thought whoever attacked him might try again (and for the safety of the Gray family). I get that Omni-Man is a revered hero, but the fact that he was the sole survivor of such an attack should be raising a lot more red flags that it has.
Let’s take a look at the next episode and see if folks finally start to figure out who the all powerful monster in their midst is.
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