The interconnection between power and responsibility in the superhero world has been sanctified since the day the first caped crusader decided to fight against injustice, but in the world of Invincible, the connection is shown in a rather cynical, non-conformist approach, which leads to questions being raised regarding the necessity of such superpowered individuals and whether their presence is truly for the betterment of humankind. After kicking off the second season with a glimpse into their own version of the multiverse, Invincible dials down the pace to delineate the aspect of accountability for superheroes and the lack of it as well, which leaves severe repercussions that even time cannot mend.
In the previous episode, Mark’s continuous pleading about letting him operate as a superhero once again finally convinced Cecil, and he agreed to let him operate for GDA. In the previous season, Mark assisted a team of astronauts on a Mars mission, and the team barely managed to escape with their lives by escaping from their captor Martians, and an invading alien parasite species known as Sequids. Unbeknownst to them, one of the Martians shapeshifted to impersonate one of the astronauts, Livingstone, and joined the team on their trip back to Earth while the real Livingstone succumbed to Sequids and engaged in a battle with the Martians. The second episode pulls threads from the past season to form a cohesive narrative and hints at the troubles the future holds in store for our teenage super-protagonist.
Cecil’s Errands: What Missions Are Assigned For Mark By The Gda?
The episode begins during Mark’s graduation day, and all of Mark’s close friends—Eve, Amber, and William—are seen to be present during convocation, except Mark himself, who is putting in hours to undertake as many of Cecil’s missions as he can. This time viewers find him busy with stopping Doc Seismic (the same lunatic who destroyed Mount Rushmore during the first season) from demolishing the Washington Monument, which the crazed scientist believes to be a shameless effigy celebrating human exploitation of nature (hard agree). After struggling a bit to handle Seismic’s new associates—lava-powered Magmanites—Mark overpowers his opposition and returns to his friends just in time for his graduation ceremony.
Later, as the friend group hangs out at Eve’s picturesque home in the wilderness, they plan to make their last summer together memorable. As viewers might remember, Eve gave up on the life of crimefighting by quitting the Teen Team, left her overbearing, controlling freak parents’ place, and using her transmutation powers to build a house in the wilderness to live on her own. Since then, Eve has assisted the world in any way she can. After Chicago’s horrible destruction during the battle between Nolan and Mark, Eve helped the construction workers rebuild the city and received public appreciation for it as well.
Soon, Mark heads out to attend another of Cecil’s calls, this time to apprehend one of Darkwing’s associates. Viewers might remember that the Invincible universe’s Batman equivalent, Darkwing, was killed by Nolan, aka Omni-Man, during his vicious attack on the Guardians of the Globe. After his death, his turf, Midnight City—a literally landlocked place cursed into remaining in perpetual midnight darkness and doom (a reference to Gotham City)—is being protected by his sidekick Night Boy, an over-the-edge vigilante who appears as the second Darkwing. His extreme methods of apprehending criminals and killing them have concerned the GDA, which decided to send Mark to Midnight City to apprehend the teenager. After some initial struggles (as Darkwing II traps Mark in the Shadowverse), Mark manages to intimidate his way out and knocks his opponent down.
Life With Parents: What Is The Situation At Grayson Household?
Even after returning home, Mark remains distracted from worldly issues and focused only on Cecil’s missions, to such an extent that when his mother, Debbie, asks him to plan a vacation which she wants to present her son as a graduation gift, Mark coldly proceeds to remain fixated on his responsibilities as a superhero. Debbie is infuriated and goes to meet Cecil, whom she accuses of using Mark and even trying to control his life in a failed attempt to get back at Nolan —someone whom the GDA or Cecil could never control. Cecil assures her that Mark calls the shots on the missions and has the full liberty to prioritize his personal life as he deems fit. While leaving, Debbie gets shocked to see Donald Ferguson, one of Cecil’s associates, alive, whom viewers might remember to have died during the events of the first season at the hands of Omni-Man.
Mark goes to the Submarine Atlantean Empire for his next mission. Aquarius, king of Atlantis and a superhero was one of the victims of Omni-Man’s vicious massacre of the Guardians, and according to their customs, his next of kin, in this case, Mark, needs to make amends for the sins of his father. Queen Aquaria demands that Mark engage in a trial by combat with a gigantic crustacean monster to do so, and Mark almost gets pummeled to death by the attack of the monster. As a backup, Cecil launches missiles in their direction, which, aside from allowing Mark a chance to escape, breaks out the monster instead, and it starts butchering numerous Atlanteans. Mark decides to save the Atlanteans, and despite Cecil’s warning not to engage, he battles with the monster to send it back to the depths it arrived from and saves Queen Aquaria in the process.
Eve returns to her parent’s place for a brief while and learns how the Chicago massacre caused her father to lose his job. He now has to work as an attendant in fast-food chain outlets to make ends meet for his family. Eve offers assistance by transmuting a gold apple and asks her parents to sell it, but her father’s ego as the family’s breadwinner gets in the way, along with his immense hatred for superpowered people whose inclusion among ‘normal’ human beings is seen as a curse by him.
On the other hand, without even Mark by her side, Debbie’s feelings of loneliness and pain caused by Nolan’s rejection continue to grow. Even during her work as a real estate agent, she comes across a manipulative, control-freak husband whose treatment of his wife reminds Debbie of Nolan’s last words addressed to her—her existence as a pet in his life—and she lashes out a bit. Returning home, Debbie breaks down, and Mark, who also returns home after his mission, realizes his mistake of abandoning his mother. The mother-son duo embraces, as they have no one else to share the emotional burden piled on them by Nolan.
Mark’s desperation to prove to the world that he is not his father, trying so much to do good, is an understandable approach, given the fact that he considers himself guilty of the massacre in Chicago. In order to absolve himself, he is ready to push his every limit, but he must remember that his self-hatred and guilt are extensions of his feelings towards his father, Nolan, and he needs to work around that to heal himself and his mother as well.
Who Is Shapesmith?
In the previous season, one of the Martians managed to sneak into the returning Earth space shuttle and pose as Livingstone, one of the astronauts. As the Martian lived his life in utter callousness due to being unaware of the ways of life on Earth, he – the fake Livingstone got fired from the US Space Administration, and even problems like eviction due to unpaid rent started creeping up. All of a sudden, the Martian got an idea about taking on the job of a superhero after seeing the example of Martian Man, who, belonging to his species, operated as a benevolent, beloved superhero in the ranks of Guardians (until Nolan slaughtered him during the Supe massacre). He takes on the identity of Shapesmith, complete with a conventional backstory, to convince the world, and he assists the Teen Team in taking down the Lizard League.
Shapesmith expresses his wish to Immortal, the leader of the Teen Team, to join their group, and his story seems convincing enough for the team to allow him to be included. However, as the episode ends, it is shown that the real Livingstone is being mind-controlled by the Sequids on Mars, laying waste to the entire population of Martians, and venturing out to take over planet Earth. This possibly makes Shapesmith the last remaining Martian and makes him a parallel to DC’s Martian Manhunter in that regard. Elsewhere, the Lizard League is seen to be gathering strength under the leadership of King Lizard, who kills one of his usurpers to showcase his dominance and plans an attack on the rest of humankind. Except for these two impending threats, the most anticipated part of Invincible would be the fate of Nolan and the status of the Viltrumites, which was hinted at in the finale of the previous season. Adding to that the new multiverse angle introduced this season, the series already has a lot on its plate, and fans are hoping the makers can balance them out.