Why did Omni-Man kill the Guardians of the Globe?


Warning: Spoilers for the first season of Invincible appear in this article, be warned.

In 2021, Invincible made its debut on our screens on Amazon Prime. Based on the long-running comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley, Invincible is the story of Mark Grayson, AKA Invincible as he grapples with his newfound powers and becomes a superhero like his father Omni-Man. The animated show has only released its first season with its second and third seasons confirmed to be in production. Throughout the first season, we see Mark navigate his relationships as he discovers his newfound powers and eventually figures out his dad’s true motives.

In the premiere episode of Invincible, the Guardians of the Globe, Earth’s great superhero team, is brutally murdered. At the beginning of the episode, they are shown as powerful, each with their own unique abilities, but not as powerful as the omnipotent Omni-Man. The Guardians consist of War Woman, a powerful ancient warrior princess, The Immortal, a powerful being who has lived for a long time and was once Abraham Lincoln, Darkwing, a billionaire who funded the Guardians of the Globe and who fights with high-tech gadgets, Green Ghost, who has the power to make herself translucent and phase through objects, Martian Man, a stretchy hero from Mars, Red Rush, a speedster from Russia, and Aquarius, who comes from a society living in the ocean, who looks as if he is half-man and half-fish, and who can control water. 

They are murdered by Nolan Grayson AKA, Omni-Man. At first, his motives were unclear and they continue to be unclear throughout the season. However, Cecil, the head of the Global Defense Agency, who works with Omni-Man and subsequently Invincible, who helps them protect the world with his incredibly secret government organization, requests that Damien Darkblood, a demon detective, help figure out who killed the Guardians. 

Once Darkblood has discovered that Omni-Man had something to do with the murder of the Guardians, he reports to Cecil, who sends him back to where he came from, not without informing Nolan’s wife and Mark’s mother, Debbie Grayson, that her husband might be something other than a hero. Debbie attempts to find the truth by herself, and succeeds, finding a bloody and tattered Omni-Man costume, riddled with the blood of the Guardians. 

The truth really comes out when The Immortal, a founding member of the Guardians of the Globe, and one of the members who Omni-Man killed, comes back to life with the aid of The Maulers and launches a full assault on Omni-Man while he is dispatching a creature with his son. Omni-Man defeats The Immortal a second time, but not before Invincible finds out the truth. 

Omni-Man comes clean to Mark and explains to him that everything he knew growing up, everything about his father’s origin, where he comes from, the planet Viltrum, was a lie. Instead of coming from a peaceful planet where Viltrumites were sent across many different worlds to protect them, they were instead a race of fierce and ruthless conquerors, who would venture to planets to subjugate them or wipe them out. Nolan was one of these conquerors sent to weaken the planet, to make it ripe for conquering. 

That still doesn’t explain why he wiped out The Guardians of the Globe, why did Nolan feel the need to wait until Mark got his powers to kill them all? We know that Viltrumites were sent to different planets to soften them up for their worlds to be conquered, but why did he not murder any heroes as soon as they revealed themselves? Was he insistent on raising a child? Even though Nolan does not explicitly say so in the series, it seems he cared for Mark and Debbie much more than he would care to admit. Crying and flying away from the Earth at the end of the season surely proves that. Maybe caring for Mark and Debbie made Nolan a little sentimental? That might be why he waited so long to murder the Guardians. More likely is that he fell in love with Debbie, and once Mark came along, with powers, weakening the planet would prove to be much easier with two Viltrumites rather than one. 

However, he wasn’t planning on Mark’s humanity to play a role. In between rounds of Nolan using Mark as a pincushion, he asked Mark why he made him do this, referring to the beaten and bloody mess that was Mark after their fight. Nolan had made it clear that they live, as Viltrumites, extremely long lives compared to a human, and that Debbie was more like a pet to him than a spouse. He asks Mark what he would have after five hundred years, and Mark’s tearful response is that he would have his father. In what he may have thought were his last moments, Mark crushed his father as you see Nolan visibly torn between his duties as a Viltrumite and as a father. So he abandoned his conquering and flew away from the Earth crying. 

It’s clear that he is compassionate at least toward Mark, and so maybe raising his son was his priority, instead of killing the heroes of Earth. Then when Mark got his powers it was a clear reminder of exactly why Nolan was on Earth, and he started with the Guardians of the Globe. But there were also plenty of other heroes on Earth at the time, for example, the new Guardians of the Globe members, which included Robot, Rex Splode, and Dupli-Kate. Although they waited in their headquarters while Omni-Man fought Mark, so maybe Omni-Man saw no one else as a threat. 

The show also had a different structure when compared to the comic books, as certain events in the series are jumbled up and switched around, presumably to cut right to the chase, and to mix up for longtime Invincible comic book fans making it fresh. With that being said it’s unclear exactly what Omni-Man’s role will be in the second season. It could follow his character arc from the comic books, or we might have to wait a little longer to see the patriarchal, mustached hero-turned-villain again. Either way, Mark has got a lot to process about his father, and fans of the first season shouldn’t worry as we will most likely see this situation between Mark and his father play out again and we might even see it resolved, one way or another. 

Hopefully, it’s not that much of a longer wait for the next season of Invincible, so we get to find out how the series deals with the implications of Omni-Man’s decisions and see just how Mark rebounds from the fact that his father might be pure evil. Stream the entire first season of Invincible on Amazon Prime, and go to your local comic book store and pick up the Invincible comics if you want to know what might happen in season 2, or pick up the first five trade paperbacks on Kindle Unlimited. You won’t regret it!