Machine Head in 'Invincible' Has a Familiar Vibe and Voice

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Evan Romano
·3 min read
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Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

The following story contains light spoilers for Amazon Prime Video's Invincible, Episode 5.

  • Amazon Prime's superhero animation series Invincible introduced viewers to Machine Head, a criminal mastermind who has....yes, a machine head.

  • The villain reads as a hybrid between characters like Kingpin and Lex Luthor.

  • He's voiced by TV veteran Jeffrey Donovan.

Fans who were hoping to get some more clarity on the big central mystery of Amazon Prime's exciting new superhero animation series, Invincible, had to put those hopes on hold for a week—but for good reason. Episode 5 of the show, titled "That Actually Hurt," opted for a bit of world-building instead, focusing in one of the most sympathetic and complete portrayals of a villain in the superhero era in the stone-skinned Titan (Mahershala Ali) and his growing conflict with a powerful crime boss named Machine Head.

Yep, you read that right: Machine Head. The biggest criminal mastermind we've met in Invincible to this point—sort of a hybrid between DC's Lex Luthor and Marvel's Kingpin, but, you know, with a machine head. The episode finds Titan performing criminal acts (stealing microchip upgrades and technology for Machine Head's machine head) just to make ends meet, to earn the life he needs for his family (he has a wife and young daughter) in the only manner he knows possible. He enlists the help of Invincible (Steven Yeun) to help him out of his jam with Machine Head, who won't ever let him out of his criminal life.

Like most of Invincible so far, Machine Head comes straight from the comics. And also like Invincible so far, Machine Head is pretty much a joy to watch on screen from the beginning of the episode to the end. With all the sinister nature of a Lex Luthor combined with a sort of Daft Punk look and autotune energy, it's a good villain that by the end of the episode seems to clear the path for an even better one, as a character the episode had already gotten us on board to sympathize with in Titan takes on the reigns of power himself.

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Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

Machine Head is voiced by Jeffrey Donovan

Photo credit: Amazon Prime/Getty
Photo credit: Amazon Prime/Getty

You probably couldn't tell due to all the voice distortion and auto-tune (it's almost a little bit funky, right?), but Machine Head is voiced by TV veteran Jeffrey Donovan. Donovan is probably still best known for his longtime role as super spy Michael Westen in USA Network's Burn Notice, but he's had other TV experience through the years as well, including Hulu's Shut Eye and an exceptional turn in Season 2 of FX's Fargo series. Donovan has also appeared in a number of film roles, including both Sicario movies.

Donovan's portrayal of the auto-tuned baddie was so good that it's even (predictably) inspired a bit of musical inspiration. Twitter user Wyatt Layne shared a creation of his own:

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We saw that coming, but...it still works. While Machine Head was arrested in the episode after a confrontation with the new Guardians of the Globe that left them in pretty bad shape (our titular hero included), it's also...jail, in a superhero show. That's hardly permanent. Feels pretty safe to say we'll see this singing robot headed villain again in the future. And maybe he'll get a few more upgrades along the way.

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