Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Invincible #63

Look kids! Comics!

I must admit, I'm a tad annoyed with Robert Kirkman for doing this. SPOILERS HO!

I absolutely cannot believe that it was necessary for this character to be killed like this. I've got to figure her power set, re-assembling and reforming atoms into different things could lead her to survive this, right? I mean, Invincible has always had huge amounts of gore, but it was always balanced by the almost sweet-natured attitudes of the leads like Mark, Eve, Robot, and the rest. Having such a terrible death on his conscience could easily make Invincible less of the type of hero that I love reading about. I really hope Kirkman has this thought through, because this could really cause a lot of regular readers to jump ship, especially if there is a tonal shift in the title (as there almost has to be). Atom Eve is too special a character to go out like this for good.

Conquest is a jerk-and-a-half, I absolutely can't wait to see Invincible go after him full throttle next issue. Death is too good for that smug jerk! I am glad to see that Cecil is not sending in many more heroes, since he figures "only six or so heroes" on Earth can help. Those Viltrumites are going to need to be dealt with.

Ryan Ottley's art is so clean and cartoony, but the gore is so upsetting! I can't believe how well he balances the elements of this title.

Good, but I'm mighty upset


Newmie Newmz said...

After being subjected to the gruesome and sadistic ways Loeb has wiped out almost all of the characters of Marvel's Ultimate Universe I thought I would have been desensitized to the way Eve went out.

Such was not the case. I still found it terrible.

I'd like to know why brutal, sadistic, and graphic death and mutilation is becoming the trend in comics. The scale and frequency of savagery depicted in comics recently is exceeding my capacity to stomach it all.

I'm not outraged. I'm not going to start a grass roots foundation to limit, censor, or ban violence in comics.

I am, however, severely disappointed in all this. It's taken a lot of fun out of reading comics for me.

I respect that this is Kirkman’s story and these are his creations. If he wants to break his toys that’s his call and like it or not we have to live with it.

That doesn’t mean we can’t question the motive or purpose behind it all.

I've asked myself a lot of questions about Kirkman's decision to kill off Eve:

Was he making a point that death is often as random and senseless as it is violent and ugly?

Was it a plot device to give Invincible the motivation and strength to defeat Conquest?

Was it an act to establish Conquest as Invincible's most dangerous, ruthless, and powerful enemy to date?

Was it done simply for shock value?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then the point seems forced.

So you see the manner of Eve's demise isn't my only issue. I am also taking issue with the storytelling itself.

Since the done-in-one crossover it seems Kirkman has been experimenting with his storytelling. There is nothing wrong with trying something new, mixing up the formula, or taking things in a different direction. It won’t always work, though. The readers will let the writer know when it doesn’t. The writers should listen to them.

I’m not suggesting Kirkman or any writer cater to his readers’ every desire and sacrifice the integrity of the story just to keep in favor.

On the other hand I think an author alienates his readers when he shakes things up just for the sake of shaking things up. That sacrifices the integrity of the story just as much as meddling readership.

So, if Kirkman killed Atom Eve just to say, “I bet you never thought I would do that”, then it was done for shock value; nothing more. And that’s poor storytelling.

My disappointment with this issue has one more level. I hate spoilers and this was one of the worst kept spoilers ever.
Anyone reading the mail bag for the last few months knew this was going to happen. He said this was coming more than once.

So if killing Atom Eve was done for shock value: failed.

If he was trying to soften the blow of Atom Eve’s death: failed.

In fact, I think knowing beforehand made it that much worse.

The only other experience I can liken this to is the way I felt up to and after seeing the last Indiana Jones movie.

Me before: “This Indiana Jones movie is going to be about aliens/He’s going to kill Atom Eve.”

Me after: “That Indiana Jones movie was about aliens/He killed Atom Eve.”

Yes, knowing ahead of time definitely made it that much worse.

If I hadn’t seen this coming for months I wonder if my reaction would be completely different. I wonder if it wouldn’t feel like it was done only for shock value or to change the status quo just for the hell of it. I wonder if it wouldn’t feel like a forced plot device or an unnecessary cry for attention.

Kirkman hasn’t lost a reader in me. Not yet anyway. I may not be excited to read Invincible as I once was but I still want to see what happens next. Despite my complaints he is still doing something right.

I’ll give Invincible an arc or two more before I pass judgement. When reading this title becomes more of an annoying chore than it is fun hobby it will be time to bid it farewell.

Timbotron said...

I understand your point, and I agreed with you at first. I mostly agree with the over-use of gore, death, and brutalization in modern comics. That said, Invincible has been like this since issue 8, so I can't really accuse Kirkman of surprising us with this. He has a long history of ultra-violence and death, and we must like it because we keep coming back!

Newmie Newmz said...

I was going to address that fact that we have seen this type of brutality early in the series but my original comment had too many characters and wouldn't allow me to post.

When Omni-man murdered the rest of the Guardians of the Globe, yes, it was brutal and violent. But it also introduced a new aspect to the title. It was a plot twist that took the reader and the book to another level. It was integral to the storyline establishing Viltrumites as monsters. The gore didn't overshadow the story.

Furthermore, the reader didn't see it coming. Overall it was good storytelling.

Eve's death in Invincible doesn't resonate with me the same way. As I said it seems forced. As if Kirkman felt he was running out of ways to surprise his audience and keep them hooked so he did the unthinkable.

On top of that, we saw this coming a mile away. So any element of surprise was ruined.

Again, if I hadn't seen it coming for months maybe my sense of surprise would have been equal to when I learned of Omni-man's betrayal.

Addressing the gore again, I admitted the the overuse of gore and brutality in comics is a huge turn off for me right now. Too much of anything is enough. Was it necessary to see a hole punched through Eve and her guts spill out? Was it necessary to see her face caved in?

As I said before if I hadn't been subjected to so much of that sort of thing lately I may not have taken issue with it.

Also, for me, it was never the gore and violence of Invincible that has kept me coming back. It was always about the characters and the story. The writing. That's what seems to be suffering here. Sort of style over substance.