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by yo go re

Has any hero ever had a more incorrect name? He gets vinced. He gets vinced hard. He is totally vincible.

Mark Grayson is teenage superhero Invincible. He was a normal high school senior with a normal part-time job and otherwise normal life, except his father Nolan is the superhero Omni-Man, the most powerful superhero on the planet. At the age of 17, Mark begins to display superpowers, which come from his father being a member of the Viltrumite race, who, according to Nolan, pioneer the galaxy on a mission of benevolence and enlightenment.

Robert Kirkman was really was the king of Image Comics in the mid-2000s. For a time, The Walking Dead was one of the biggest comics in the industry, even before becoming AMC's flagship television series; and the same year that book started, he also put out Invincible, bringing superheroes back to Image after its growth into more diverse genres (and let's face it: to most comicbook fans, if it's not superheroes, it doesn't "count"). Invincible has had a slower burn than Walking Dead did, but it's now got an animated series on Amazon Prime, and that animated series has gotten action figues from Diamond Select Toys.

When Batman got turned into a cartoon, his design had to be simplified so it would be easier to animate; Invincible, meanwhile, looks nearly identical between the books and the screen. Artist Ryan Ottley has a clean, simple style that translated easily from one medium to the next, which means this figure could represent either the show or the comic. The figure was sculpted by Chris Dahlberg, who's given him a thin, muscular build with smooth lines. The legs feel longer than usual, but it's possible that's only because the yellow panel on the costume ends farther above the waist than you'd expect. The costume elements get sculpted edges - very shallow ones, so they're not obtrusive, but it keeps things crisp and makes the parts of the costume stand out more than just changing colors would do.

Speaking of the colors, what is up with Mark's skintone? I know we've been complaining about "blue" skin an awful lot lately, but this isn't even that: it's so pale it's nearly blank white. Compare the toy to the art on the front of the box, and the difference is drastic! Ray Terrill was literally kept out of the light his entire life so he wouldn't learn about his powers, and not even his skin was this pale. Mark Grayson was a normal kid who went outside and touched grass. One of his chores was taking out the garbage, so he's seen the sun at least once in his life. Why then does this toy look like a small Irish boy who was raised in the bottom of a cave? At least it matches between his face and fingers?

DST does their action figures in a 7" scale (usually), so that's how tall this figure stands. Obviously we wish he'd been 6", so he could blend with Marvel Legends and similar toys, but this one can co-mingle with Marvel Select instead. And he really might: in 2006, Robert Kirkman was writing Marvel Team-Up, and in the standalone issue #14, he had Spider-Man meet Invincible, who was bouncing around alternate realities at that point in his own book. So yeah, this is an "animated" figure, but the art is indistinguishable from the comics, and the comics had a crossover with Marvel, so put this figure alongside your Marvel figures if you want.

The articulation is good. Invincible has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, H-hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged rocker ankles. The head can't move up or down very well, unfortunately: this type of joint is fine for turning and for minor tilts, but it never, ever works for characters who can fly and therefore need to look up. Adding a hinge in the neck would have done wonders.

There's a hole in the small of the figure's back, and the set includes the same kind of clear, three-segmented posing arm DST's Avatar toys had, so you can make him hover nicely. But not really fly, because he can't look up.

We also get an alternate head, with an angrier face than the neutral look on the normal head. Right out of the tray, he's got fists, but you can trade those for flat hands (for the flying poses he can't really get into) or gripping hands that will allow him to hold the giant chunk of concrete and rebar. One more alternate hand is done wearing a baseball glove, for the scene where Mark and his dad play ball, and the set actually includes two baseballs: one by itself, one with a trail behind it to look like it's speeding through the air. That second one also has a hole underneath, so it can be plugged onto the display stand. Neat! Be sure not to lose the plain one, though.

This is not the first Invincible toy ever. There were the Minimates, of course, and I'm pretty sure McFarlane did some figures for Skybound Entertainment the way they did for several Image properties - those, though, were in that weird 5" scale McToys was insisting upon at the time, while this is in a scale anybody actually collects. Invincible, the comic, was very good; Invincible, the TV show, is very good; and thanks to DST, we've got a good toy that can represent either of them.

-- 03/26/22

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