Invincible is one of the best superhero and adult-animated series of the last few years, receiving critical acclaim when it premiered in 2021. Since then, fans have been anxiously awaiting its second season, which is set to release on November 3, 2023. To much surprise, a special episode debuted at SDCC (now streaming on Prime Video) to hold us over until then. This one-hour special gives us the origin story of fan-favorite character Atom Eve and is the perfect way to get ready for the new season this fall.
Invincible Atom Eve begins eighteen years before the first season and introduces us to Dr. Elias Brandyworth (voiced by Stephen Root), a government scientist working on a top-secret project for Steven Erickson (the late Lance Reddick). When their lab becomes the site of a battle between the Lizard League and the Guardians of the Globe, Brandyworth evacuates the lab with Polly, the pregnant woman at the center of the project and the mother of Atom Eve.
Unfortunately, Polly dies during childbirth and to protect Atom Eve from Erickson, Brandyworth swaps her with the unborn fetus of Adam and Betsy Wilkins. Thinking she is their own, they name her Samantha Eve Wilkins and take her home to give her a normal life. We then see Samantha grow up and become Atom Eve, learning the truth of her origin and mastering her powers.
My main critique of Invincible Atom Eve is that it made me want more Invincible now. While not a bad thing, I don’t want to wait until November now for the new season. The show still features top-notch animation; it’s bright and colorful with action just as violent and bloody as ever. The story itself is also fantastic and heartbreaking at the same time. While we get some insights into Samantha’s past in the first season (especially her relationship with her adoptive parents), I never realized how tragic her backstory is.
Aria Kane and Jazlyn Ione lend their vocal talents to young Samantha, delivering stellar performances at two stages of her life. Like the main series, the special features an all-star supporting cast, most notably Jacob Tremblay (The Little Mermaid) and the late Lance Reddick (John Wick). Reddick gives Erickson gravitas while making him cold and calculating at the same time; he is a monster of a human being that rivals Adam Wilkins (voiced by Fred Tatasciore), the real villain in Samantha’s life. Tremblay’s character, Phase Two, is a real tragedy. Phase Two has been treated as a monster his entire life, and you can feel his pain through Tremblay’s performance.
Steven Root gives a great performance as Dr. Brandyworth. While not biologically related to Samantha, he’s the real father figure in Samantha’s life and does whatever he can to protect her while keeping his promise to Polly. Grey Griffin also does a wonderful job voicing Samantha’s maternal figures, Polly and Betsy Wilkins. Unlike Adam, I do believe Betsy wants the best for Samantha, even though she won’t speak up for her as she should.
Overall, I would say that Invincible Atom Eve is a must-watch, even if you have never seen the first season of Invincible. Prime Video has become the premier destination for adult superhero content, also getting ready for Gen V, the new spinoff of The Boys, this September. Since Invincible Atom Eve is a prequel, you can watch it before the first season if you are doing a first-time watch. If you are a fan of stunning animation, violent action, and thoughtful storytelling, Invincible Atom Eve is perfect for you; I cannot wait for more Invincible later this year!