Against all odds, Prime Video has made a strong name for itself in the world of streaming. From movies to television shows, the service has become a bonafide competitor in the industry, thanks to a healthy and remarkably diverse library. The best shows on Amazon Prime Video include critical darlings like The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselpop culture phenomenons like The Boysand acclaimed underrated gems like Upload. However, I would argue that Prime Video’s strongest offering is the animated superhero show Invinciblereturning for its second season today.
Created by Robert Kirkman and based on the eponymous comic book series by Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, Invincible follows Mark Grayson, a teenage superhero with an impressive collection of powers. The second season chronicles Mark’s attempts to recover from the season 1 finale, which saw his father, the superhero Omni-Man, reveal himself as an agent for the Viltrum empire sent to subdue Earth. The now-infamous final episode of season 1, Where I Really Come Fromfeatured a savage fight between father and son that destroyed Chicago and left Mark severely injured. Season 2 begins with Omni-Man gone and Mark trying to recover some sense of normalcy.
Although Invincible has received glowing reviews and is a strong performer for Prime Video, the show remains somewhat underappreciated by mainstream audiences. And it’s a shame because few, if any, animated shows currently airing on television have the same degree of depth and sheer entertainment value as Invincible. Season 2 improves on everything that made season 1 great, expanding its world – ahem, galaxy, more like it, and delivering an impressive sophomore effort. If you aren’t already, you should definitely see Invincibleand here’s why.
A world of gods and monsters
Watching Invincible Season 2 reminded me a lot of another animated show that I love: the brilliant and messy Young Justice. Developed by Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, Young Justice also follows a group of teenagers from the main corners of the DC Universe. Like Young Justice, Invincible is massive in scope, for better and worse.
Both shows march to the beat of their own drums; they introduce characters before seemingly dropping them, only for them to return episodes later, tying everything together in beautifully unexpected ways. Both shows take sudden detours to focus on minor characters, relegating their main players to supporting roles. More importantly, both shows are unafraid to take risks and ruffle feathers; they make bold and inspired choices and don’t shy away from hitting pause on storylines that might otherwise seem too important to ignore.
This ballsy approach allows Invincible to feel refreshing and surprising. It’s not the blood and guts that shock – although, rest assured, there’s plenty of that in the first four episodes – but rather the show’s commitment to presenting a patient, slow-building, character-driven story in a genre that often feels like a collection of action set pieces. Like Young Justice, Invincible is the rare show that expertly juggles the present and future. Like a delicate house of cards, each character, each decision, and dialog means something, even if you can’t figure it out straight away.
But Invincible understands its genre and delivers more than enough action set pieces and immediate revelations to keep things moving. It’s a delicate, incredibly challenging balance, and the fact that it can pull it off and make it seem so effortless is a restatement of its sheer genius.
The nature of heroism
One thing that instantly stands out about Invincible Season 2 is how character-driven it is. In a genre where plot often takes precedence over individual characterizations, Invincible boldly allows its players to actively drive the story and not the other way around. This simple choice allows it to feel resonant and impactful; the characters care about each other and themselves, and so we care about them.
Surprisingly, season 2 of Invincible is also remarkably sad. Each of the first four episodes is filled with pathos and a lingering sense of dread as we watch the characters go through hell and back. Regret, guilt, longing, and pain are major themes throughout the season, presented in a brutally earnest way I don’t think any other modern superhero project has dared tackle. Mark and his mother, Debbie, bear the weight of this torment, aided by exceptional voice acting courtesy of Steven Yeun (Beef) and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve).
Season 2 of Invincible is exceptionally mature, not because of the violence, but because it understands the crushing weight of feeling any emotion as an adult. Following a stomach-churning start, the show moves to an extended sequence set to the tune of Radiohead’s Karma Policewhich perfectly sets the stage for what’s coming. From then, it becomes an exercise in escalation, taking its characters -and its audience – through the wide specter of emotions. There’s real hurt here, and the writers and actors dive head-first into this pool of pain. By embracing its suffering, Invincible emerges stronger and better.
Superhero fatigue? Not with this show
The superhero genre is in shambles. Once the mighty giant trampling over the tiny peasant at its feet, now the MCU sucks, churning out one mediocre, half-baked project after another. Elsewhere, James Gunn hides behind the July 2025 release of Superman: Legacyunable, or perhaps unwilling, to reveal more about his plans to resuscitate the comatose DC Universe.
Thus, Invincible arrives at a critical time for the genre. Are audiences tired of caped adventures, or are they just tired of bad caped adventures? I’m willing to bet the answer is the latter. Look at Prime Video’s own Gen Vwhich might’ve not been the same juggernaut as The Boys but made a lot more noise than Marvel’s last three efforts combined. Adult Swim’s My Adventures with Superman was a moderate hit, attracting a small but potent fan base and hinting at a much bigger second season.
Audiences aren’t fatigued by the superhero genre; they’re just looking for something better than lazy, run-of-the-mill stuff. Invincible is just that. It’s big, bold, loud, thrilling, heart-wrenching, and unbelievably rewarding. As subtle as a kick to the privates yet as thoughtful as a kind word of comfort, Invincible is everything a superhero show should be. Ironically, and much like Mark Grayson himself, its greatest strength lies in its innate humanity. Invincible is gory, funny, occasionally sexy, and always entertaining. Its real strength, however, lies in its willingness to feel; more superhero properties should follow suit.
Invincible season 2 is currently streaming on Prime Video.