"Invincible": Amazon Prime Video or Robert Kirkman? The Best and Worst Character Changes from Image Comics to Animated Adaptation
Warning: this Invincible article contains minor spoilers.
All film adaptations, big screen and small, inevitably see changes from the source material. Robert Kirkman's Invincible is no different. Some of these changes are more drastic than others. As a superfan of Kirkman's comic series, I believe some of the character changes impact the storyline more than they need to, while others are a welcome addition!
In a perfect world, Amazon Prime Video's Invincible would rip dialogue, art, and story arcs directly from the pages of the source material. But as a lifelong bookworm, I know that isn't a realistic dream. I'm still trying to forgive Peter Jackson for shorting us one Tom Bombadil in the Lord of the Rings adaptations. And I still haven't completely gotten over the absence of the Sphinx and other more interesting, although minor, side characters from the Potter-verse.
Still, all told, I'm just happy to have an Invincible adaptation on my screen finally! There are enough similarities that I feel did the comics justice, but there are some significant changes. Many of the events in the animated series were the same, if not a little out of order. So my focus for this article is more on changes to the characters.
THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT! There will potentially and very likely be spoilers for future storylines from this point forward!
Generally, I love to see a cast from older source material updated to include more diverse characters and greater representation. I love the idea behind having more members from the LGBTQ+ and character updates, including more ethnic diversity. But I do feel like the changes made to William and Amber's characters, specifically, were problematic to the storyline.
William is Mark Grayson/Invincible's best friend in both the comics and the animated show. Amazon's adaptation sees William depicted as gay rather than the straight guy in the original comics. My problem here is not his orientation but that William's relationship with Samantha Wilkins/Atom Eve is critical.
The two begin dating after Invincible and Omi-Man's fight that leaves Invincible in the hospital for an extended amount of time in the comics. Atom Eve had feelings for Invincible, but after he began dating Amber, she attempted to move on with William.
Atom Eve and William's relationship was short-lived, but it was crucial to developing the relationship that Invincible has with her. Invincible is made aware of his feelings for Eve because of how he feels about her dating William. Even though Invincible continues dating Amber for a while, the show can make the Invincible/Atom Eve relationship happen another way. However, I prefer the route taken in the comics.
I am super annoyed at how much Amber's personality has changed from the source material.
In the comics, Amber is not MEANT to be a likable character. She is not meant to be a strong female role model. In the Invincible comics, Amber is a girl that takes an interest in Invincible. When they meet, Invincible is interested in the then-unavailable Atom Eve. Eve is dating Rex. Invincible begins dating Amber, and she is a much more minor background character.
I can appreciate developing Amber's character more for the Amazon show to increase her screen time. But I wish they would have developed or expanded the character that was already there. Amber on the page is whinier, physically and emotionally weaker...vapid, almost. For example, when Invincible finally tells Amazon's Amber that he is Invincible, she has a solid and self-assured response. Amazon Amber knows who she is and how she will or will not be treated. I love that character! But this is such a drastic change compared to the comic.
Kirkman's Amber also pieces Invincible's secret identity together. She then confronts him, but her response is to be so grateful that he "opened up" and "shared his secret" to her (Come on girl! He only did it because you called him out!::sigh::) Afterwards, they "get together" for the first time.
It feels icky to root against Amazon's Amber in favor of Kirkman's. Because I really like her character. She is just plain and simply incorrect. The reader is SUPPOSED to roll their eyes at Amber and root for Mark and Eve. Making Amber just as, if not more, strong-willed and self-assured as Eve kills that entire plot point and the whole purpose for including Amber in the list of characters at all.
Minor Character Changes
Along with these two significant character changes, there are three in particular that I am happy about! I love that Shrinking Ray is a girl and that she has speaking lines! I am also a huge fan of how Amazon's Invincible gives Debbie Grayson, Invincible's mother, a real character of her own.
I love how we see more events from Debbie's perspective as a worried mother and devastated or suspicious wife. I feel like the show portrays Debbie as an intelligent, strong, and confident woman in a way that the comics just... didn't. In Kirkman's comics, Debbie Grayson has a little character development but reads more like a sitcom mother, who always has dinner ready over anything else.
Another change I enjoyed was Titan's character development. Titan does take over Machine Head's organization in similar ways in both the comics and animated show. But from the pages, Titan wants money and power. He isn't a terrible guy, just a crook.
I loved how Titan was expanded in Amazon's show and given a good-hearted reason for using Invincible to take over. He's still doing the wrong things, but I enjoyed that they made it for the right reasons.
If you have read the comics, what did you think of these changes? If you haven't read the comics, don't forget you get a free 30 days on Comixology when you sign up for the free trial! So read the issues covered in season one of Amazon Prime Video's animated adaptation of Invincible!
Then come back here and let me know how much you agree with me! Or let me know how wrong I am! I want to hear your thoughts! Meet me back here next week for the beginner's guide to the core characters and who they are!
About the author
The Nerd Habit is a collaborative group of writers who love all things nerd. We write about the latest happenings in nerd/geek culture as well as short fiction.
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Christopher D. Horton, Hani Masry, Jerah Rose, Whitney Thompson