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Invincible and The Complex Impact of Trauma


Invincible covers many broad topics in just 8 short episodes. This is due to the series’ singular goal at moving from beginning to end of its most prevalent story arc: The rise of Mark Grayson and the fall of Omni-Man. Through this primary plot, many smaller ideas are conveyed. One notable message was the idea of trauma, and the double-edged nature of its impact.

The first example is clearly the semi-abusive relationship between Omni-man and his son Mark. In the pilot we see Omni-man’s first steps into derangement as he “teaches” his son how to fight. His warped method of preparing his son is by sucker punching him so hard he knocks the wind out of his lungs. Later, even Omni-man laments his use of force on his son. But added to the complexity is that after the attack, Mark knows how strong he is. So he is able to face his school bully and even take on his first heroic act as Invincible. Throughout the series, we see Omni-man “teach” his son genuinely valuable lessons, sprinkled in with elements of harsh, near abusive parenting. Every lesson, no matter how warped is later used in Mark’s true conflict against his own father.

Another similar example is seen in the series’ female lead- Eve. Eve, aka Atom Eve, is a fellow high school super hero that has the ability to restructure atoms. The interesting note about Eve is how she begins vs how she ends the season. At the beginning of the show, she is dating Rex-Plode: a typical “Chad” frat boy who lacks maturity or ethics. A polar opposite of someone close her- her father.

An important note between Mark and Eve is how their fathers differ. Where Mark’s father wants him to only be a superhero, not a human; Eves father wants her to be a human and never be a superhero. Eve’s father is controlling, cruel, and abusive. Eve struggles with depression through the series, trying to figure out who she is. She doesn’t know how to define herself after realizing just how selfish Rex-Plode is. After leaving the super group Teen Team, dumping Rex, and finding that Mark is dating someone else, she feels lost. Her father attempts to control his daughter and eventually forces her into an ultimatum. But after she sees how much good comes from genuinely helping people-not just fighting bad guys-Eve decides to set out on her own to help the world. Her father demands she stay, but she leaves anyway finally sure of herself.

Something to note is that without their traumatic home lives, neither hero would be able to reach their fullest potential. Both had over-bearing and cruel fathers which drove them to make choices they didn’t want. Yet, without that cruelty our hero’s would not exist.

This complexity to trauma holds a mirror up to the effects of life on ourselves. Invincible acts as a showcase on how trauma will leave a permanent change in us, but they change isn’t innately wrong- it’s instead up to us to change what was a negative impact into a positive force.

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Jinx Lethe
Jinx Lethe

Uhhh but most Marks are evil in other timelines, right? PTSD didn't do them much good. ...him... them, whatever lol

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