I just found a site with all of the issues and trade paperbacks available for reading (see below; no downloading necessary), and while reading the introduction by Kurt Busiek for the first trade paperback, I was struck by the fact that his favorite character has sort of turned out to be mine. He writes:
[quote]I think my favorite character is Mark’s mom. Her casual acceptance of her family life, her tension when her “boys” are out of touch even by the reach of CNN, her matter-of-factness about the fantastic, that’s the glue that makes this book work. I want to see an annual, Invincible’s Mom, Debbie Grayson. It’s that aspect - not contrast, but melding - of Mark’s two worlds that makes Invincible so compelling.
This is so true. As much of a supporting character as she is, Debbie’s presence - her warmth, inherent decency, and cool pragmatism - is felt throughout the show. (Of course, this is in part due to the fact that Mark echos her best qualities, even at his most immature.) Throughout the course of this season, Debbie went from being the heart of the show to its driving force and, finally, it’s patron saint.
It was through Debbie’s eyes that I watched the first half of the finale and it broke me. I unintentionally recalled Jessica Lange’s pivotal scenes in “Music Box” - her embodiment of Dirk Bouts’ “Mater Dolorosa” (Sorrowing Virgin) - and, though I reflexively chuckled at my admittedly melodramatic response to the revelations, I couldn’t help but weep quietly and motionlessly to myself. I was totally taken aback.
Listening to and watching Nolan’s brutality, I cried thinking not only of Debbie and Mark’s shattered world but of my own father and his abuses of yore, and of the kind of mind and personality requisite for the type of horror and brutality that was on total and truly stunning display. The sense of superiority and frightening apathy that it takes for a person to brutalize not just strangers, but also loved ones, was sickening to watch, even in - or maybe especially because it is - a cartoon. I was reminded of the bigotry, racism, and prejudices that have plagued the human race for centuries and that continue to do so.
This show is brilliant at plummeting the viewer into the depths of the dire and despair, only to yank one out of those depths with dashes of charm, humor, whimsy, and, most importantly, hope. Still, I watched most of Nolan and Mark’s “exchange” through barely splayed fingers and I still feel a bit drained by it. Not so much because I can’t tell the difference between reality and a cartoon, but because the monsters of such myths walk amongst us.