While the heroes of Image Comics came together for the Invincible War, the story’s cast prevents it from receiving a true page-to-screen adaptation.
The Invincible animated series on Amazon Prime Video has become all the rage with existing and new fans, revitalizing the popularity of the IP that ended its comic book run a few years back. So far, it’s adapted many of the series’ major storylines, albeit in a more truncated and straightforward capacity. Its fairly conservative fidelity to the source material likely means that more of the comics’ classic moments are sure to come to the small screen.
One storyline that definitely won’t be the same as the comic book version is the Invincible War. This epic event not only featured Mark Grayson and his allies, but also several other Image Comics heroes. Due to the legal structure of Image Comics, however, the Invincible War’s cast will prevent it from receiving a true page-to-screen adaptation.
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The crux of the event’s conflict deals with Angstrom Levy, who had secretly survived a harrowing battle against Invincible. Using a portal to another dimension, he recruits 16 evil variants of Mark Grayson in his quest to get revenge on his foe for savagely beating and disfiguring him.
The evil Invincibles make haste in laying waste to cities across the world, disrupting the current peace in Invincible and Atom Eve’s lives. They are met with opposition from several Image heroes unconnected to the events of Invincible, including the Savage Dragon, Spawn, Witchblade and Youngblood. The battles against the evil Marks wages on, with each of them quickly destroying major cities in record time. About half of their number are eventually killed off, but not before they take millions of lives themselves. The survivors are eventually stranded in another dimension, ending the tyranny of their presence.
Savage Dragon is perhaps the character with the biggest role, and he’s very much the voice of reason afterwards. He tries to explain the events to the general public as not being caused by “their” Invincible, and the heroes all unite in an attempt to rebuild after all of the carnage.
Mark himself is eventually able to beat back the doppelgangers’ boss Levy, but an even bigger threat comes in the form of the dictatorial Viltrumite Conquest. He informs Mark that he should help him and the other Viltrumites take over Earth, and that his lack of help will result in his own demise.
The expanded cast of heroes brought in to fight off the Invincibullies is absolutely massive, featuring characters first seen when Image Comics was founded in the early 1990s. These include the likes of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, the formerly Rob Liefeld-owned Youngblood, Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, Jim Valentino’s Shadowhawk, Mike Allred’s Madman, Marc Silvestri’s Cyberforce, Witchblade and the Darkness, Dale Keown’s Pitt and Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar’s Dynamo 5. Some of these characters had shown up in limited capacities in Invincible before, showcasing the publisher’s amorphous, nebulous and convenient version of continuity.
Unfortunately, just as in those cases, this event’s storyline will have to be condensed to not include those heroes in the animated series. Unlike Marvel, DC or even Valiant, Image Comics does not own any of the characters which appear in those books. Instead, the individual creators own them and could just as easily take the books to another publisher if they so wish. One example of this is the aforementioned Madman, who’s had his book published by more than five different companies.
This can make using each other’s characters somewhat tricky, as permission would need to be granted and/or royalties would need to be paid to each creator. This is why the Spawn movie replaced Chapel with Jessica Priest, as doing otherwise would have involved securing the rights from Liefeld for use of his Youngblood character. An animated version of the Invincible War would likely involve giving out checks to a whole host of creators not named Robert Kirkman or Ryan Ottley, meaning that the show’s version of the story will have to be a lot more creative in how it handles its hero’s mirror images.
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