With all of the new titles coming out of Image, with the mega-events and relaunches at DC and Marvel, and with the noise blowing off of San Diego Comic Con, a fairly major announcement has gone under the radar. Invincible, the seminal superhero book from Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, is about to be rebooted. This is a major story at it is one of the longest running comics on Image, and a real staple for superhero readers at the company. It is really the “other comic” that Kirkman made his name as an indie creator on, and has spawned a dozen spin-offs and tie-ins. As Invincible is in its mid #120s now, and its reboot is now slated for October.
What is this reboot all about exactly?
The Image announcement reads:
THE WALKING DEAD editor and Skybound Entertainment’s Editorial Director Sean Mackiewicz announced the forthcoming reboot of Kirkman’s long-running superhero series, INVINCIBLE.
In this new direction for INVINCIBLE, Mark suddenly finds himself without powers. Back home… but aware of everything he’s lived through. What does he change, who can he save… and how will he deal with his father now that he knows what’s coming?
The INVINCIBLE reboot will begin with issue #124 and is set to launch on October 21 and will retain the same creative team with THE WALKING DEAD writer Robert Kirkman and art by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu.
While this is obviously a complete reboot, it is actually quite a relief. As it stands now it is going to keep its award winning creative team, which is a feat especially for Ryan Ottley. It will also likely keep its same numbering, which is a nice uniqueness for this one series at Image.
At Image Expo, Skybound said:
“Mark goes back in time and sees what sort of changes he can make. Perfect for new readers.”
This seems to be the key issue for the reboot. The high numbering and growing continuity is a challenge for new readers, and so a very clean jumping on point is attractive. This used to not be an issue in long-continuity comics where most issues were good starting points, and if not there, then just the beginning of a story arc. This was true for well known characters like Spider-Man who most people actually know much of the backstory on. With the new push towards creator-owned comics, it is unthinkable to come in the middle, just as it would be with serialized television shows like those on AMC or HBO. So with Invincible, with no clean jumping on point except the first issue, it can be intimidating to go through 125 issues plus dozens of outside tie-in issues.
How clean will this reboot b? Well it seems to be somewhere between a soft and hard reboot, but it looks like regular invincible fans will have enough to keep them happy. What is really strange is how little has been said about this, not just at the press, but at Image itself. It is likely simply that while Invincible is a reasonable seller, it is not one of their top books and probably never will be.