"Invincible" is a book that I check in on every so often. Seeing the declaration of "Invincible" #89 heralding the beginning of a "bold new direction" inspired me to check in once again. After all, whenever a book promises to be changing things up, it seems to me like a great place to dive in. I'm not so certain of the "bold new direction" but it is a wildly entertaining read.
There is no denying this is Robert Kirkman's world, crafted from sheer imagination. Every character has a distinct voice and brings a specific personality into play in this story. Some of those combine to play well off of one another while others offer entertainment due to their disparity. From one page to the next, the reader never really knows what Kirkman's going to throw at them, as is evidenced by the outcome of Dinosaurus' conflict with Allen the Alien or the conclusion of Grand Regent Thragg's conversation with his medical staff.
Kirkman has the good fortune of having a true collaborator (and vice versa) with Ryan Ottley handling the drawing chores of this title. The work in this issue is smooth and clear, as befits a creative duo with significant history together. Ottley's style is clean and crisp, full of detail and dynamic in composition and character expressions. The single page of Dinosaurus and Allen in a stalemate is easily worth at least half the price of admission, if not the full price.
Cliff Rathburn's inks -- rich and dark where they need to be and descriptively enhancing Ottley's pencils as necessary -- certainly help unify the look of the book, separating characters and backgrounds while retaining their crisp features. Collectively with colorist John Rauch, the duo melds into a seamless art production team that delivers a wonderfully playful comic that pays tribute to the comics of yesteryear while celebrating everything that can be today. All three creators are adept at what they do, and working together they make this book (and this issue in particular) something to revel in.
Anyone coming into this comic completely cold is also going to be completely confused. There are a lot of characters floating through these pages, some with deep-shared history with Invincible, some not as much. All the same, the sheer quantity could be a bit overwhelming. I would have expected a little visual assistance in the form of floating caption boxes with characters' names at least to help new readers feel more welcome and integrated into this series. However, if those new readers have a bit of patience and some resilience, they'll quickly realize what a fun read this issue is regardless of knowing all the characters. A quick internet search can really clear up quite a bit of the confusion. More importantly, they'll be in on the ground floor for the next big developments in the "Invincible" series.