Robert Kirkman has joked in the past that his dream with “Invincible” was to hand it over to other creators at some point and have it live on in much the same way that Marvel and DC titles do. That one day he would pick up the latest issue of the title, from younger creators he didn’t know, and hurl it across the room in a fit of rage as he screams, “This isn’t ‘Invincible!’” Well, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now as “Invincible” kicks off its final arc, a twelve-issue epic entitled “The End of All Things,” in these solicitations. This is happening for two reasons: The first is that Kirkman felt that the issues he was plotting out were building to a conclusion for the adventures of Mark Grayson and family, friends, and frenemies. The second is that longtime artist Ryan Ottley was also feeling the same way, in regards to the monthly grind of putting the book out for the past decade-plus. If both of the creators that have defined this series want to call it a day, that’s fine with me. “Invincible” has been consistently great for the majority of its run, and I’m sure they’ll come up with a worthy finale as they’re still firing on all cylinders.
That said, this being “Invincible” after all, it’s probably time to start a death pool to see who’s going to make it out alive. Given the way this series has rolled after all this time, we’re going to see a lot of good and bad people meeting their ends before the end comes in issue #144.
A.D.: After Death Book One (of Three): This was originally announced as a graphic novel at (I believe) the 2014 Image Expo. Given that it was coming from two of the biggest talents in the industry, Scott Snyder (writing) and Jeff Lemire (illustrating), there has been a considerable amount of anticipation for it ever since. I imagine that’s coming from people who are enamored of Snyder’s creator-owned work. Me? I think what he’s done on “Batman” tops his accomplishments on the likes of “American Vampire,” “The Wake,” and “Wytches.” “Vampire” has been a fun romp through genres with little more ambition to that (and appears to be on semi-permanent hiatus at this point). “The Wake” was a messy hybrid of “Deep Blue Sea” and sci-fi adventure that descended into silliness, while “Wytches” started out on a strong note with its pure horror vibe before turning into “Aliens” at the end. So when you’re telling me that Snyder has a creator-owned work about a world where we humans have cured death and the consequences thereof? I’m going to be a little skeptical about it’s must-read credentials. Unless Batman shows up at the end of Book One.
Frontier #1: This, on the other hand, is a total must-read for me as it’s coming from Jonathan Hickman and represents the first series he has written and drawn since his “Catholics with a time machine” miniseries “Pax Romana.” It even has a similar high concept too: Taking place in the far future, humanity has journeyed out to the stars and made contact with the larger galactic civilization. The problem is that we’re subsequently kicked right of it after all the other alien races realize how angry and violent humans really are. Now they’ve got a problem that needs our “talents” to be solved and we’ve got a shot at getting back what we’ve lost. I’m sure this is going to work out well for all parties involved.
Chew #60: The finale, described as an “Epilogue” in a single word of solicitation text. It’s double-sized with a tri-fold cover. The one we’re shown features an adult Olive Chu in an homage to the cover from “Chew” #1. As for what’s on the other two parts of this cover… I’m hoping it’s a massive illustration of the cast, but it’s probably something far, far stranger given this title’s history.
Peter Panzerfaust #24: I hadn’t realized it, but apparently the final two issues of this series have been MIA for a good long while now. If you’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long for them to arrive… then keep waiting, I guess. (Though writer Kurtis Wiebe’s work on “Rat Queens” and artist Tyler Jenkins’ work on “Neverboy” over the past year may provide at least part of the answer.) However, it looks like the creators will finally be delivering the conclusion for this series before the year is out. Cross your fingers and all that.
Casanova: Acedia vol. 2: So, will we reach the end of the current series here? Or are we now two-thirds of the way through it? Maybe “Acedia vol. 2” is the halfway point for the storyline? I’ve been entertained by this series, to be sure. It’s just that I’m still smarting after the previous volume ended without any kind of closure when all of the ones before it were relatively self-contained. I’d say that this would be a chance for writer Matt Fraction to fix that here, but HA! Fraction following the demands of convention and complaining fans? That’ll be the day.
Mice Templar vol. 5: In the world of American Comics, this is “Claymore” to “Mouse Guard’s” “Berserk.” Granted, I reached this conclusion after only reading one volume of “Mice Templar,” so maybe reading further volumes of it is in order to tell if I’m completely off base here. Still, it’s worth noting that “Mice Templar” has reached its conclusion with this volume and there’s no sign of vol. 4 of “Mouse Guard” on the horizon. Vol. 38 of “Berserk” is out in Japan right now, and should be arriving sometime in 2017, but who knows what’ll happen after that. The creators for “Mice Templar” at least deserve to be commended for their dedication to this series if nothing else, given their competition.
Paper Girls vol. 2: In which Brian Vaughan and Cliff Chiang give us the clever-clever time travel story of the title protagonists from the mid-80’s finding themselves thrust into the horrifying future that is our present. Expect laughs a-plenty as the eras clash when lead paper girl MacKenzie finds out that her homophobic insults just aren’t acceptable today. Maybe, if we’re lucky, Vaughn’s puzzle-box approach to the narrative here will be come a bit more clear and entertaining as a result. Or at least give us hope that it won’t turn out like “Lost” or “Morning Glories.”