About a year ago, a new animated superhero show came out and swept the world by storm. Invincible is a gritty and brutal look at the superhero world, and focuses its time on the story of Mark Grayson, otherwise known as:
If you watched the show, you probably enjoyed that little reference. And while I can talk on and on about this fantastic comic book run, I’d much rather pull you a little closer with a magnifying glass and focus in on a singular aspect: the fantastic and realistic relationship between Mark and Samantha Eve Wilkins aka Atom Eve.
The beginning of their relationship starts off with Mark actually dating someone else entirely. Eve struggles to tell Mark how she really feels about him because of this. Instead of pushing Mark aside, she becomes close friends with him. They bond as friends and create quite the bond, working together on the “Teen Team” of superheroes. Eventually, the fact that Mark is dating a non superpowered individual catches up with him, and because of the disconnect and the danger he had to put himself in, breaks up with his girlfriend. While Mark knew that Eve had feelings for him and that he himself had feelings for her, their relationship wouldn’t start right away. It isn’t until Eve is kidnapped by a villain that things kick off. After coming to grips with the fact that they could have lost each other, they embrace and share a kiss, finally understanding that they do want each other, and that they want to protect each other from danger.
This will be the one chance I give you for a spoiler warning for basically all of the rest of Invincible (the comic not the show), so you have been warned.
While their relationship is cute, it isn’t why I chose to talk about them in this post. Robert Kirkman is great at creating realistic character dynamics, and I can’t think of a better way to showcase it than what happens during the Viltrumite War arc of the comics. To summarize the events up to this point (and I know this is gonna sound crazy but hey it’s comics, what did you expect), a member of the same alien race that Mark is, a Viltrumite named Conquest, comes to Earth with the express goal of killing Mark and taking over the world. The scary thing is that Conquest basically wins. He destroys the city, and nearly kills Mark, but he does kill Eve. Eve, however, overclocks her powers of atomic reconstruction to heal both her and Mark, leading to the victory. Because of this, Mark needs to leave to help put an end to the Viltrumite invasion. When Mark leaves, he tells Eve that he doesn’t know when or if he will return, and Eve discovers that she is pregnant with their child. Sadly, Mark doesn’t come home for years because of the war. When he does, he discovers that Eve lost the child due to the amount of stress that was placed upon her. Because of this, he blames himself over the loss of their unborn child. Eve, however, doesn’t blame him. This brings a lot of realism to the relationship that a lot of comic books stray away from. Heartbreak and loss are the cornerstones for a compelling relationship, and Robert Kirkman brings that in spades here.
However this isn’t the only case of Mark being pulled into a war and not returning for years. Eventually, Mark and Eve conceive and give birth to a new child, which they name Terra after Earth. Shortly after the birth, Mark is pulled away again to fight the Viltrumites. This time, he doesn’t return for five years. Mark again had told her that he didn’t think he would be coming back alive. When he finally does return to Eve, she had moved on. She was married to another man. But this story isn’t one of doom and gloom, because as soon as Mark returns, Eve embraces him, confessing that she never stopped loving him. While her new husband tries to tell Mark that she has moved on and doesn’t need him anymore, Eve responds by punching him and telling him that she wants a divorce, finally happy to have the love of her life back.
Invincible showcased one of my favorite cases of relationships in comics. There was a grounded realism to the nature of it, and the beginning starting off with the classic “I love you but I’m with someone else” troupe made it all the more satisfying when they did eventually come together. Through heartbreak, loss, sorrow, and ultimately never ending devotion, Mark and Eve cemented themselves as one of my favorite power couples in all of comics. If you’re a fan of the show, buckle up, cause things get real crazy real fast. I implore you to read the comics if you are like me and can’t wait for the show to finish animating the entire comic run. Until then, I’m patiently waiting for the for the colossal stakes and the oh so satisfying conclusion to