‘Invincible’ Season 2 Just Introduced the Comics’ Most Controversial Character

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Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Invincible Season 2 as well as the Invincible comics. It also contains descriptions of sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing.


The Big Picture

  • Anissa, a powerful Viltrumite, tries to convert Mark to join the Viltrumite Empire in
    Invincible
    Season 2, causing conflict.
  • Anissa engages in a physical altercation with Mark, showcasing her immense power.
  • Anissa’s controversial past in the comics may see changes in the show’s adaptation.


The world of Invincible continues to expand with new characters every episode, and the latest character is a controversial one that comic fans are bound to recognize. Episode 7 of Invincible Season 2, compared to the earlier episodes, is a bit more of an easygoing affair. Rex Splode (Jason Mantzoukas) trying to get back in the field, Mark (Steven Yeun) and Amber (Zazie Beetz) attempting to rekindle their relationship, and Donald (Chris Diamantopoulos) confronting his various past lives are just some of the more small-scale conflicts that the various heroes of Earth are dealing with.


However, as per usual in the critically acclaimed animated superhero show, chances for Mark’s happy normal life are continually doused by his superhero career. While taking Amber on a nightly date, they are suddenly interrupted by a powerful Viltrumite named Anissa (Shantel VanSanten) — an infamous character from Robert Kirkman’s original comics who gained notoriety for the unspeakable things she did to Mark.

Invincible

Invincible is an adult animated superhero series that revolves around 17-year-old Mark Grayson, who’s just like every other guy his age — except his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man. But as Mark develops powers of his own, he discovers his father’s legacy may not be as heroic as it seems.

Release Date
March 25, 2021

Creator
Robert Kirkman

Seasons
2

Developer
Simon Racioppa

Streaming Service(s)
Prime Video


Who is Anissa in ‘Invincible’ Season 2?

The moment Anissa arrives in Invincible Season 2, she is immediately confrontational. She demands that she and Mark Grayson have a conversation, otherwise she’ll kill Amber within a second. Mark agrees, and while Anissa isn’t as quick to resort to combat as the other Viltrumites Mark has encountered, she still is unmistakably loyal to the Viltrumite Empire. According to Anissa, her goal is to convert Mark to the Empire rather than kill him. She also claims to not have the same vendetta against humans that her master, General Kregg (Clancy Brown), has, but still views Viltrumite rule as the only way to save humanity from itself.


Anissa gets the chance to prove that when Cecil (Walton Goggins) interrupts the tense conversation. He tells Mark that a monster is wreaking havoc on the other side of the globe, and he’s the only one who can get there to stop the beast in time. Mark reluctantly invites Anissa to help him take the monster down if she truly cares about humans, and surprisingly enough, she agrees. The battle sees Anissa stay true to her word, as she ends up dealing the killing blow to the kaiju. She may have saved several human lives, but that act does little to sway her opinion on Earth joining the Viltrumite Empire. She and Mark get into a physical altercation, and Mark and Cecil see just how powerful Anissa truly is. She is by far the most powerful Viltrumite they’ve seen yet, even more so than the mighty Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons).


Anissa’s mission to convert Mark ultimately fails, and she leaves Earth after telling Mark that she will not be the last Viltrumite to come to the planet. She reports her failure to General Kregg, who’s understandably displeased. Her dressing down is interrupted when their Viltrumite ship spots Allen the Alien (Seth Rogen), and she goes to confront the Coalition officer. The fight teases that Allen can hold his own against Anissa with his recent upgrade, but Anissa wins in the end, taking him back to the same ship where Omni-Man is a prisoner.

Anissa Is a Notorious Character in the ‘Invincible’ Comics

Anissa-Invincible-Comic-Book
Image via Image Comics

Anissa continues her journey in the Invincible comics, typically as an enemy, siding with Viltrum in their war against Earth. However, she would also be recruited in a more sinister Viltrumite plot, which would lead to her committing an unforgivable act of sexual violence. Anissa is selected among a few other Viltrumites to infiltrate Earth and masquerade as humans, with the goal being that they’ll breed with humans to make more potential soldiers like Mark. It’s a similar plan that Omni-Man followed in his time on Earth, but where he was a calculated manipulator, Anissa takes a more violent and direct approach.


Anissa, being a prideful warrior, views the humans of Earth as unworthy of being her mate. This is what leads her to consider Invincible as a potential partner, given that he’s already half-human and half-Viltrumite. After flirting with him and even kissing him without his consent, Anissa reveals her intentions to Mark. Mark has zero interest in a romantic or sexual relationship with Anissa, and yet, Anissa refuses to take no for an answer. After a quick battle, Anissa forces Mark to have intercourse with her, later setting the stage to have his child.

The experience fundamentally damages Mark from both a psychological and physical standpoint. The immediate aftermath of the sexual assault leaves Mark scared and hurt, and that continues every time he sees Anissa in the future. Even worse, Anissa doesn’t appear to have any remorse for what she did, nor does she care that her future child will be the product of rape. She even taunts and continues to flirt with Mark, all of which is incredibly traumatic and uncomfortable for him.


The ‘Invincible’ Show Will Likely Make Changes to Anissa’s Character

Among the many reasons why Anissa’s act of sexual violence is controversial isn’t just the act itself. It’s also the aftermath. Believe it or not, Anissa undergoes a redemption arc once she finds a human family of her own. She even gets to make a heroic sacrifice, all while saying she doesn’t regret what she did to Mark.

We’re not suggesting that commentaries on sexual violence are impossible to include in a mature superhero show like Invincible. Jessica Jones certainly proved that with its nuanced and engaging allegory. Sexual assault against men is often stigmatized and under-represented in film and television, so exploring that is possible if contextualized properly. The other alternative would be just removing the subplot altogether, which would also be fair. Either way, it’s more than likely that the Anissa from Prime Video’s show will be quite different from the controversial Anissa from the comics.


Invincible Season 2 is streaming now on Prime Video.

Watch on Prime Video



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