For Mark Grayson, life as a teenage superhero should have felt like a summertime breeze. Instead, it's been a gauntlet of multitudinous agonies. Such are the harsh realities of Invincible, the Prime Video animated adaptation of Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley's comic book series of the same name. The Image Comics series — which ran for 144 issues between 2003 and 2018 — was the type of cape comic in which people got hurt whenever its colorful titans broke into splash-page-level battles. Like, really, really hurt.
That's an aspect of superherodom Mark (Steven Yeun) came to know intimately during Season 1, which left him in a state of reflection (and, it should be said, convalescence) after his father Nolan (J.K. Simmons) was revealed to be a sleeper agent for the galaxy-conquering Viltrum Empire. As the Superman analog Omni-Man, Nolan betrayed Earth's trust and decimated the series's ersatz version of the Justice League, The Guardians of the Globe. Failing to convince Mark that his alien heritage made him superior to humanity, he went on to beat his son within an inch of his life. And while Omni-Man flew off into deep space in the season finale, there's no reason to assume that life will be quieter for Mark in Season 2.
Because Amazon's Invincible has matched the violence of its source material blow for blow — to the degree that its blood-spattered logo design has become a far less subtle but no less functional riff on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' iconic deconstructionist superhero saga, Watchmen. The consequences of Nolan's dark deeds and Mark's naivete as a newly-minted superhero will assuredly be Kirkman and Racioppa's focus as their series heads into year two. As for what could possibly top its wild debut season, it's time to play catch-up with Invincible ahead of its Season 2 premiere on November 3.
The first half of Season 2 is slated to premiere on November 3. As the WGA and SGA strikes are ongoing, that release date could change, though the series’s heavy presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con suggests that won’t be the case. In what is becoming an increasingly irksome streaming trend, Amazon will drop the latter half of this new season in early 2024, with specific dates still up in the air. (Season 1, by way of comparison, dropped its first three episodes on March 25, 2021, and released the subsequent 8 episodes on a weekly schedule after that.)
Steven Yeun, who starred in Kirkman's The Walking Dead for AMC, will return as Mark Grayson/Invincible, with Sandra Oh returning to voice Debbie, Mark's currently grieving mother. Perhaps not surprisingly, J.K. Simmons will also return to voice Nolan Grayson, the treacherous Omni-Man, though his upcoming role in the series remains under wraps.
Other returning stars will include: Gillian Jacobs as Atom Eve, Zachary Quinto and Ross Marquand as Rudolph "Rudy" Connors (also known as Robot), Zazie Beetz as Mark's on-again-off-again girlfriend Amber, Grey DeLisle and Kevin Michael Richardson as Amanda/Monster Girl, Walton Goggins as Cecil Stedman (the series's version of Nick Fury), Jason Mantzoukas as Rex Splode, Michael Dorn as Battle Beast, Khary Payton as Black Samson, Andrew Rannells as Mark's bestie William Clockwell, and Seth Rogen as Allen The Alien.
As far as newcomers to the series are concerned, Season 2 is fittingly rife with ringers. This is Us and Black Panther star Sterling K. Brown has one of the few confirmed roles in the upcoming season and will guest star as Angstrom Levy, a villain from the comics.
The rest of Invincible's upcoming guest roster is equally stacked. It includes (deep breath) Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, She-Hulk), Scoot McNairy (Halt and Catch Fire), Tim Robinson (I Think You Should Leave), Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal, Supergirl), Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer), Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead), Lea Thompson (Switched at Birth, Back to the Future), Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog, Parks and Recreation) Phil LaMarr (Justice League Unlimited, Futurama), Paul F. Tompkins (BoJack Horseman, Mr. Show with Bob and David), Rob Delaney (Catastrophe), Chloe Bennett (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Shantel VanSanten (The Boys, For All Mankind), and Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul).
And if that weren't enough, Invincible Season 2 will also feature, to Robert Kirkman's eternal delight, Peter Cullen (Transformers).
Yes! He’ll be voicing Thaedus, the leader of the Coalition of Planets. (That’s the intergalactic organization hinted at in Season 1 by Rogen’s Allen The Alien. Also, don’t go looking Thaedus up if you haven’t read the comics; we’re warning you.)
Details on the new season remain minimal, though we know from the trailer that its first half will focus on the aftermath of Omni-Man's betrayal, with Mark and Debbie dealing with their familial devastation. Other threats, such as Titan and Angstrom Levy, will likely keep Mark and Cecil's GDA busy. And don't forget: There's still the not-insignificant matter of the Viltrum Empire, which is presumably still looking to conquer Earth and will most assuredly discover Mark's heritage sooner or later.
That will be a huge problem for more than the obvious reasons. Once Omni-Man showed his true colors, Cecil pointed out that Mark had become one of Earth’s most powerful heroes. If Mark should be compelled to leave the planet again (as he did previously during a bonkers Martian mission), Earth could be left more vulnerable than it's been in decades. (Also, this poor guy still needs to graduate high school!)
The first trailer for Season 2 has a few more clues:
It should be said Kirkman and Racioppa have produced Invincible to operate more or less in tandem with the events in the comic as they were released. The changes from this adaptation have only improved the story, finessing the story's flow and establishing clearer and more compelling stakes. (The show's more specific changes most affected characters like GDA agent Donald Ferguson, who was more than meets the eye in the comics.) Folks who have read the comics might have a strong idea of where Season 2 might take us, but Season 1 has moved enough around that similar surprises are assuredly in store.
As Mark and the world discovered in mutual horror, Omni-Man is, in reality, a sleeper agent sent to Earth to dismantle its defenses over a period of years on behalf of his home planet, Viltrum.
Think of Omni-Man's homeworld as a crueler version of Superman's birth planet, Krypton, only in one piece and more inclined to dominate the universe than Superman's more benevolent ancestry. As Nolan informs Mark, Viltrumites are born with superpowers (invulnerability, super-speed, and flight seem to be chief amongst these abilities), and his planet gave way to the most powerful and cruel among its citizenry years ago.
A planet full of fascist supermen is nothing to sneeze at. As Season 1 showed, the Viltrum Empire is composed only of their worst and harshest and has sent champions out to conquer worlds for generations. Nolan chose Earth, and for decades, he lived among humanity as a father and husband. Now, with the cat out of the bag, the Viltrum threat is about to become Mark's primary headache. There's no reason to believe Omni-Man is finished with his assignment.
You bet; Amazon dropped Invincible: Atom Eve on July 21, which served as a one-shot origin story for the young matter-manipulating humanitarian hero voiced by Gillian Jacobs.
The episode might indicate that a more Eve-focused Season 2 is on its way, or it could mean we’re in for more Invincible-expanding one-and-dones in the future. One thing’s for certain: Atom Eve includes a stinger ending titled “Where Was Mark Grayson During All This?” that tosses in an additional emotional beat for Omni-Man and his human family unit, one that may have further dramatic implications when the disgraced superhero returns to Earth.
Invincible: Atom Eve was directed by Haylee Herrick and co-written by Robert Kirkman and Helen Leigh, who, wouldn’t you know it, also wrote for Cinemax’s Outcast, another Kirkman-produced comic adaptation of his work.
Here, have a short promotional teaser featuring Yeun’s Invincible and Rogen’s Allen The Alien. It’s short, and it gets a bit more meta than the series probably ever will (as it is a Comic-Con commercial), but if you’re looking for a bit more Invincible to tide you over until November 3, this should do you fine. Also, might we suggest reading the comics?
Jarrod Jones is a freelance writer currently settled in Chicago. He reads lots (and lots) of comics and, as a result, is kind of a dunderhead.