Review - Invincible Universe #2

What's a universe of heroes to do when faced with a massive mind dragon? Fight as hard as they can, try to get along and avoid being eaten. That about sums up Invincible Universe #2 from Image Comics.

The issue is written by Phil Hester, illustrated by Todd Nauck, colored by Gabe Eltaeb and lettered by Rus Wooton.

The fight between Liu's mind dragon and government forces, with the dragon doing a ton of damage. In order to manage the battle, the Invincible universe must band together to win, despite Kid Thor's recurring death problem. The battling is set against the backdrop of Cecil Steadman's bargain with Mr. Liu, something that many of the heroes aren't exactly keen on.

Hester has the Invincible universe firing on many cylinders. The battle with Liu's mind dragon is presented on as epic a scale as you would expect and throwing in Kid Thor's problem makes it interesting. The issue boasts a whole lot of fighting, all while Robot is doing some strange science to try and reign in Liu's dragon. While the heroes do manage to hold serve, it's not without tragedy, prompting Stedman to possibly move down a different path.

If there's an issue with the issue, it's that the pacing feels rather awkward. The issue ends rather abruptly (despite being the second issue) and it feels more like the ending to a four-issue miniseries as opposed to simply two issues. Hester crams a lot into the first two issues of the series, rapidly resolving Liu's play while getting everyone into place for future issues. Steadman's characterization does take a more humane turn thanks to the events of the book though and all the heroes seem to be presented in ways that position them for some unique storytelling.

Nauck's pencils are great. There's a two-page spread of all the heroes brought together by Edelman that sort of defines the issue. It is the Invincible universe and Nauck presents all the heroes in true triumphant fashion. This is a book about costumed superheroes, yet Nauck manages to make the book feel human. The dragon loses some of it's intimidation factor that it presented in the first issue, but Nauck still makes sure to show the reader that Liu's mind dragon is a force to be reckoned with regardless.

Despite a somewhat torrid pace, Invincible Universe #2 is building up to something great. The characters are poised for action and Liu proves to be more wily than originally thought. The series will definitely be of great interest to fans of Invincible, but even those who haven't read the core book will likely find something appealing here. The characters have intertwined backstories that work well together and things look to be very far from normal for the heroes.

Invincible Universe #2 is in stores now with interiors below.