INVINCIBLE: SUBVERTING THE HERO VS HERO TROPEApril 19, 2021
Amazon’s Invincible seems set on inverting a a popular trope of comic book media.
Heroes fighting other heroes is a staple of comic book lore. Some of the greatest storylines in comics rise from conflict between our favorite heroes.
Fans even spend time matching heroes against other heroes in a myriad of scenarios to see who would come out on top.
In the premiere of Invincible, a showdown between heroes takes place. A confrontation that upends the trope in violently gruesome fashion.
WHEN PARAGONS LOCK HORNS
There is usually a sense of disagreement when heroes find themselves fighting other heroes.
A case of mistaken identity, where a hero is perceived as a villain, is a typical case for this kind of conflict.
Spider-Man, Marvel Comics’ flagship hero, is a great study for this particular situation. His portrayal in the media is negative more often than not. This paints him as a criminal by twisting his positive actions or overemphasizing the fallout from his fights.
As such, Spider-Man spent a good amount of his early crimefighting days in a struggle against heroes like Quicksilver and Luke Cage.
Another common cause is a philosophical debate that gets out of hand.
Marvel Comics’ Civil War and Civil War II featured such disagreements. These spun out of control because the heroes couldn’t reach common ground. The successful Captain America: Civil War took the events of the first Civil War and adapted them for the big screen.
Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2, the fighting games featuring DC Comics’ heroes, are centered on a similar heroic disagreement that causes stunning consequences.
But a common thread in all these situations is that lethal force is not an option unless the situation is extreme. At the end of the day, these are still the good guys. They have just reached the point where diplomacy failed. The fights are usually portrayed negatively and, when fatalities or extreme injuries occur, it is never on purpose.
HOW INVINCIBLE SWITCHES UP THE FORMULA
At the end of the first episode of Invincible, Omni-Man fights the Guardians of the Globe, an analogue of the Justice League.
It isn’t apparent at the beginning of the fight, but lethal force is the only consideration throughout the encounter. This is made even clearer when Red Rush is killed by Omni-Man.
Some of the Guardians assume that their fellow hero is under some form of control. However, they do not hesitate or change tactics. They fight with lethal intent to their last breath.
The visual representation of the graphic violence is jarring but the message is clear…survival is paramount to any other consideration.
Omni-Man’s reasons for attacking the Guardians of the Globe are unknown as of yet but his lethal force is met appropriately and he responds in kind.
This scene effectively creates a sense of paranoia in the audience. No one is safe in this world and danger can come from the unlikeliest source.
Amazon’s Invincible has created many more opportunities to upend even more superhero tropes. The engaging story is helped even further by these subversions and only time will tell how this all plays out.
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