Invincible spoilers follow.
The Boys is a lot. And we mean that in the best way possible. In just season two alone, fans saw heads and whales explode, Stormfront was burned to a crisp, and there was also a massive 'Love Sausage' swinging around too. But this is all deliberately designed to shock viewers in a fun, gross-out kind of way that sets the show apart from the likes of Marvel and DC.
Invincible, Amazon Prime's *other* adult superhero show, can also be quite brutal at times. As each week passes, the opening title card becomes bloodier and bloodier to reflect the many beatings that Mark receives while trying to save the world. But Invincible's finale just pushed things further than it ever has before in ways that not even The Boys can compete with.
Throughout season one, we've seen the damage that super-powered people can inflict on us mere mortals. Heads have been severed, torsos have been cut in half, and hands have been crushed into a bloody, meaty pulp. That's all disturbing to some degree, but then that was always the point of Invincible, to explore classic superhero storytelling through a more realistic lens.
The Boys does this too, but in a very different way. While emotions do run high in Eric Kripke's show, the family dynamic that beats at the heart of Invincible grounds the show with an emotional realism. And it's precisely this more relatable element that makes the finale so hard to watch.
Upon discovering that his father has been essentially evil all along, Mark ends up in the fight of his life, struggling to stay alive while Omni-Man beats him to a pulp. Nolan is furious that Mark doesn't see things his way, so he does everything he can to show Invincible that the world he protects is meaningless, that humans are weak and pitiful and don't deserve their protection.
Mark holds his own the best he can, but of course he's no match for the man who raised him, who taught him everything he knows. The fight soon ends up in Chicago where thousands of bystanders are killed by Nolan's actions.
But that's not enough for Omni-Man. He needs to show his son just how futile protecting humans really is. So Nolan grabs Invincible, and holds him up face-first in front of an oncoming train.
The result is devastating. The two heroes are immovable and almost indestructible, so instead of them being hurt, every passenger on the train is ripped apart when they collide with Mark. Blood and guts fly around him as dozens of people are literally smushed into pulp against his face.
As a hero who has sworn to protect people, it's hard to imagine anything worse happening to you than that. Except when your Dad is the one making all this happen. That's a lot worse.
Invincible is an animated show, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch this scene. Visually, this is easily on a par with the most gruesome scenes that The Boys has thrown our way (and it's a lot more harrowing than that scene Amazon once forced the show to cut). But when you also factor in those emotional stakes, Mark's train encounter is nigh on unbearable.
And after all this, even when Omni-Man is punching out his son's teeth left right and centre, Mark still just wants his father back.
The Boys also has emotional stakes, and they're often linked to the violence as well. Think the murder of Kimiko's brother or Hughie's loss at the very beginning. But throughout the first two seasons of that show, it's hard to find another scene that is simultaneously disturbing and heartbreaking in quite the same way.
Although Omni-Man flies off to another galaxy by the end, Mark will still need to reckon with all this in season two. Not only does Nolan represent the biggest threat Earth has ever faced, there's also his more personal betrayal to contend with as well.
How will Invincible top that scene moving forward? And what fresh hell does Kripke have in store for fans of The Boys in season three? In the final scene, Mark says his next plan is to finish high school, which means that Invincible season two could end up telling the most horrifying superhero story we've seen yet.
Invincible is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US and FOX in the UK.
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