Mister Invincible: Local Hero graphic novel review

Written and illustrated by Pascal Jousselin. Colored by Laurence Croix. Translation by David Byron, James Hogan, and Ivanka T. Hahnenberger. Layout, localization, and editing by Mike Kennedy. Published by Magnetic Press. 

I don’t say this lightly; this is a must buy comic. Any person who enjoys comic books and all that the medium can do needs to buy this book. Buy a physical copy of the book not a digital one. 

Mister Invincible has the power of comics. “What does that mean?” It means he can take full advantage of the panels, gutters, and layout of the comic book page. He jumps down the page, across, or grabs assistance from a future panel to help him in the present. The comic expands what comics can be and tells a story which could only be done in this format. 

Pages are altered by his battles. I thought my copy was damaged, but no! It is all part of the story. Other characters use word balloons, page turns, and color in heroic and villainous ways. Which is why I say to only read this in a physical format. I don’t want to give too much away, but one villain’s power really depends on turning the page, in a manner that won’t feel the same digitally. 

The comic is being marketed to children and while it is kid friendly and enjoyable I think that does a disservice. All comic fans should read this book to remember or learn what comics can be and why they’re the best method of storytelling in existence. Mr Invincible is round and cartoonish, but he is the perfect hero for the job. The job of bending time and space in a four color world. I would place it alongside Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art. A true deconstruction and rebuilding of what comics are. People have played with panels before but none have dedicated an entire character to gutter jumping. 

In the spirit of John Byrne’s She-Hulk, I love that Mister Invincible is self aware of his powers. The other citizens of his world are aware that he has powers, but don’t understand. Mister Invincible knows and embraces that he is a comic book character. He has a belief in his abilities that comes through in his calm and laid back crime fighting. He knows he’ll get out of any situation safely, and is relaxed as he borrows from other panels or gets assistance from a future (or past) self. Not that there aren’t high stakes involved. When facing another person who has comic bending powers, Mister Invincible knows he’s about to face a real challenge. In the end though he works with their powers, although not necessarily with the character, to save the day. The power of comics involves writing, drawing, coloring, and lettering combined – and so does Mister Invincible. 

This is already at the top for the best comics I’ve read this year, and will probably be on my all time list as well. Just when I thought I knew comics inside and out a story like this comes along to change all that I held true.

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