The end of "Invincible" #101 teased that there was going to be trouble on the moon between Invincible's father and his home planet's exiled leader, General Kregg. Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley waste no time in getting to that plot point with this month's issue. It's a quick and brutal battle that relies both on past continuity of the title as well all of its gloriously violent excesses. The end results twist the status quo one more time in a very interesting direction.
Nolan Grayson is the star of this issue, dominating all but the last scene's three pages. Kregg takes the battle immediately to Nolan on the moon on the first page, and after a brief skirmish on the open plains there, Kregg spills the beans on the things he's learned in the last year or two. Namely, Nolan is not just any Viltrumite, but the legitimate and long-thought-lost descendant of the home planet's last great leader. In other words, he's a threat to Kregg who must be eliminated. It's a nice tie-up to some dangling plot threads from recent issues, while also again flipping the Viltrumite situation on its ear.
Kregg nearly pulls off his power play. While there is the classic Kirkman show-stopping sequence where all the cards are laid out on the table and the exposition stops the issue dead, the bulk of the issue is still the fisticuffs between Viltrum's leader and its rightful heir. Nolan's eventual triumph is fitting, coming as it does with the help of the most reasonable members of the race who have been assimilating with the humans on earth.
In the end, Invincible now has to handle the fact that his father is the leader of his people. Given everything he's been privy to over the years, Mark's reaction is understandable -- somewhat muted, a tad bemused, but mostly overwhelmed by all the change in his life.
Then Mark pops the question to Eve. It feels like a distant second event to the rest of the book. Quick turnarounds like that and punchy surprises are what keep the book going, though, so it's a good kind of plot twist.
Ottley and Rathburn's art in the book are stellar, as always. I particularly like the way they stage battle scenes in space, thinking about how the lack of gravity might impact some of the body language. It might be the work of colorist John Rauch, but the skies full of stars that fill in the backgrounds in those scenes always make the space scenes feel more real and look tight. Rauch keeps the rest of the book in line with the overall style the series has had since the very beginning, and that's much appreciated, too.
"Invincible" #102 is a strong done-in-one issue. Taken away from the on-going battle arcs and plot lines, it stands nicely. Maybe it falls a bit too close to the usual style of the series, but it's a good formula to stick to. As with any good story, the issue leads to more questions than answers and will keep bringing readers back to the series every month to find more answers.