The back half of the fifth year of Invincible is really about growing pains. Mark has officially dropped out of college because it was one too many plates for him to spin with his world-saving duties. His relationship with his girlfriend is flourishing and they feel the mutual need to pull away from their parents. Their problem is, how does the pair make money to pay for a home? Yes, Eve’s powers are such that she could just alter some raw material and make them a house. However, in a move in line with Invincible’s trust of the justice system and larger institutions that keep order in our society, the teen couple feels they should earn the money through an honest day’s work. So, Eve being the smarter, more entrepreneurial one in the relationship, gets the idea to hire her boyfriend out as a one-man private security firm for several prisons.
One of the techniques that Robert Kirkman is exceedingly adept at is the one page cutaway foreshadow where he’ll devote one page at random in the book to set the table for future events. The event he’s been setting up for at least the last ten issues is the return of Angstrom Levy, who teleported away when Mark thought he had killed him during their dimension-hopping fight. The villain is back and better than ever because he’s enlisted the help of a bunch of evil Invincibles from other dimensions in a plan to utterly destroy our Mark Grayson’s world. Because this is comics, the villain can never win and escape unscathed, which means while Angstrom’s plan succeeds, it ends up being a suicide mission.
The thing I really enjoy about the hero-fights-evil-version-of-himself trope is that within the story it represents another way the character could’ve gone, emphasizing the importance of choice in the occupation of being a hero. The idea of “What if?” taunts us all in some way, shape, or form. What literature can do is make the abstract idea concrete and, of course, superhero comics are one of the best mediums to use this technique. Since man’s worst enemy is himself, why not have him beat himself up, or at the very least, a version of himself.
The 60th issue of invincible closes with many familiar locales utterly destroyed, the Grayson home and Mark’s high school chief among them. Familiar heroes such as Rex Splode sacrificed their lives in the clash between the world’s superheroes and mirror universe Invincibles. In dark times our hero must forge ahead, rebuild his world, and make it stronger. After all, he has the power to do that, and it would be a mistake not to exercise that power.