I hated Rex Splode from the get-go.
When we meet Rex, he’s cocky, hasty, and stupid. I flipped Invincible’s pages to find a redeemable trait but didn’t come anywhere near that. At least not in the beginning.
I kept reading Invincible with a puzzled expression on my face, wondering why the hell was Atom Eve – an intelligent and powerful girl – dating such a jerk. But then again, how many of us dated unsuitable people?
I’m guilty as charged, so I shouldn’t have judged.
Still, I was in for a plot twist. Skip a few months, and I would gladly jump at the chance to write a Rex Splode guide. Worse, I wouldn’t trash Rex without mercy on it.
No, ladies and gentlemen, I’m writing this guide to show why Rex deserves your admiration. Because although I hated him at the start, he proved me wrong by experiencing one of the best redemption arcs in the series.
Rex Splode grew on me.
But how the hell did that happen?
Well, this is a long story, and it starts with a bullet to the head.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold
I was happy to hate Rex Splode. But that feeling didn’t last – all it took to break my resolution was a sad backstory.
Yes, Rex was a jerk. But what could we expect from a child sold by his parents?
Rex knew no love growing up, and while that doesn’t make things right, it explains his flaws. Besides, he eventually became a better person.
Invincible follows Mark Grayson’s superhero debut. As the descendant of an Alien race depicted as Kryptonians with Freddie Mercury mustaches, he inherits great powers and responsibilities.
This premise seems tame, but there’s more than meets the eye. It’s just a matter of time before things get gory and tense. But in the comic’s early days, before all the bloodbath, Mark Grayson, AKA Invincible, stumbles upon a group of superheroes called the Team Teen.
That name sounds familiar. I wonder what could be the inspiration behind it…
Similarities aside, the group unites some of the most powerful superheroes in the form of Robot, Dupli-Kate, Atom Eve, and Rex Splode.
Analyzing the squad, it’s not a far cry to assume Rex is the weak link. Kate’s self-multiplication, Eve’s complete mastery of inorganic matter, and Robot’s genius intellect far outweigh Rex’s extraordinary strength and explosive talents.
Besides, Rex’s brashness has ruined plans on occasion. Still, he can do amazing things when push comes to shove, like surviving a bullet to the head.
Rex wears an orange hoodie, a yellow jumpsuit, and goggles. The Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe lists him as 5’11”, 215 lbs, and brown-haired. However, this last feature wasn’t always so.
In issue 9, Monster Girl tears Rex’s hoodie, revealing black hair. This made me wonder: did the writers decide the hero’s hair was black but then changed it? Or did he dye his hair for a while?
The writers never addressed this fact, so we’ll never know.
Powers and Abilities
Rex was the subject of a bio-engineering program that used chemicals and hormones to densify and strengthen his muscle tissue. As a result, he has superhuman strength and can lift (press) 1,000 pounds.
In addition, the program implanted cybernetic devices in Rex’s arms, allowing him to convert any inorganic object into explosives. To top it all off, Rex trained in espionage, gymnastics, and martial arts.
Eve was Rex’s oldest friend until he cheated on her with a colleague.
Yes, Invincible has some moments right out of a Grey’s Anatomy episode.
Before all this drama, Rex and Eve dated for three years and supported each other through the worst situations. Their prequel Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode shows their blossoming relationship– this is an essential read to understand how such an odd pairing came together.
Although Rex and Bulletproof are not close friends, they have some meaningful interactions. For example, Rex confided to Bulletproof his feelings regarding Kate’s marriage to the Immortal. Unfortunately, there’s not more to this friendship besides that.
Rex and Kate had an affair, but that was it. His declarations show he sees Kate as nothing more than a sexual object. Later the heroine says Rex’s dismissal of her was why she cheated on him with the Immortal.
Initially, Rex saw Mark as a threat to his relationship with Eve – which is ironic when you consider the jealous hero was the one cheating.
Although Mark is angry at Rex for hurting Eve’s feelings, they eventually develop camaraderie. After a bit of soul searching, Rex encourages Mark to pursue a relationship with Eve and is glad to see them together.
Rex was a major jerk to Monster Girl, but they learned to get along with time. Despite this, Robot notices Amanda is physically attracted to Rex, which is why the scientist clones the young hero’s body.
Robot is arguably Rex’s closest friend. Each conversation between them clarifies the young man’s feelings and shortcomings. Thus, this friendship is key to the hero’s character development.
You might also be interested in: Invincible Characters Guide
Rex is arrogant, rash, and self-centered. His willingness to impose provides sarcastic one-liners for the reader’s enjoyment, but it results in disaster whenever his erratic behavior disrupts the team’s plans.
Although I often laughed at his silly antics, his behavior is tragic when you consider he never had a good upbringing. Still, Rex never feels like a stupid comic relief. The writers gave him tenacity, heroism, and inventiveness to make him a fleshed-out character.
No One Likes a Cheater
Well, I just wanted to let you fellas know that I really razzled and dazzled them in there. So there’s at least one less spot left for you guys. Sorry.” – Splode, Rex.
Remember when I told you Rex tends to ruin plans?
Well, he does that in his very first appearance.
Explosive in hand, and one-liner ready, he attacks the Mauler twins, ruining the element of surprise. Robot calls him out, and Rex apologizes, saying, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
That’s Rex Splode in a nutshell: if it seems like a good idea, he does it.
Maybe he thought the same when he cheated on Eve. Or when he kept acting too friendly with Kate at Team Teen’s headquarters, or even when he underestimated a 12-year-old girl.
It was clear Rex had a big ego, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he mistreated everyone at the New Guardians of the Globe tryout. Still, I was infuriated! How rude to think you are so much better than everyone and announce it in a packed room.
But Karma is a bitch, and when Rex belittled the 12-year-old-looking Amanda, she turned into Monster Girl and beat the crap out of him.
Now that was satisfying.
But all good things end. Invincible saved Rex, despite no one else moving a finger.
Saving Rex was hard, but it would pay off down the road.
An Unlikely Hero
“Preach on, sister! I’m not ready to give up, either. There’s too much at stake! People are counting on us!” – Splode, Rex.
By this point, my opinion of Rex was terrible.
Every time he tried patching things up with Eve, but she shunned him with an icy remark, I thought, “way to go, girl! Show this jerk who’s the boss!”
But the writers had to ruin everything.
It all started when the Guardians were fighting otherworldly beings for hours. Heroes were tired, but Rex wasn’t ready to give up because people counted on them. Then, there were the jokes; next was the kindness he showed Monster Girl despite everything that happened between them.
And lastly, there was karma.
As Rex walked through an almost empty base of operations, he was unaware everything would change. He was unaware that after stepping through the door, he would be forced to reevaluate everything he had done up to that point.
Because when Rex walked into the room, all he saw was Kate getting physical with the Immortal.
She was cheating on him the same way he cheated on Eve.
Oh, it hurt, and now he knew the pain he had caused.
So Rex ran looking for a friend. He confided in Robot but didn’t find relief. Because he knew he had it coming.
Was that the beginning of character development?
Yes, but that doesn’t mean things would be rosy from then on. I would still cry for Rex’s pain, but I would be again mad at his foolishness.
I guess growth doesn’t happen in a straight line.
Rex’s Sob Rock
“So the next time Rex is acting like a jerk, have a little compassion” – Narrator.
So maybe, you’re warming up to Rex, but most likely, your brain is shouting at me right now, “when will I get to like this guy? You promised me you would make me like him.”
Well, this is it.
This is the sob story.
Rex was born into a poor family. “He had no food, no money, no friends. And no future.”
But suddenly, a man arrives at their door, saying he can make all of their wildest dreams come true: in exchange for Rex.
The parents agree, and Radcliffe takes Rex to a facility to be trained and experimented upon like a lab rat. He gains superpowers and incredible abilities to kill people.
One day, Radcliffe sends Rex on the greatest mission of his life: destroying the pentagon.
At this point, Rex started having doubts. He believed to be working for the good guys but was now unsure. Halfway through the mission, he meets Atom Eve, who helps him get clarity.
Rex refuses to complete the task and confronts Radcliffe about it. The man attacks the young boy, and in an attempt to defend himself, the teen accidentally kills his attacker and explodes the facility.
Rex and Eve must now prevent an evil government sect from acquiring the technology from the exploded facility. They do it in style, igniting everything in flames and finishing with a big kiss.
But then comes the heartbreak.
Rex tracks down their parents to see how they’re doing. He looks at them from afar with two children and realizes they don’t need him anymore.
Rex cries and leaves.
Old Habits Die Hard
You killed Dupli-Kate! You killed Shrinking Ray! It’s all over, you psycho! I’M TAKING YOU OUT!” – Splode, Rex.
Following Rex is a rollercoaster, and I thought I was in for the ride.
I didn’t hate him anymore. Still, seeing Eve’s remark about Kate’s cheating made me smile. Well, he deserved it.
But he didn’t deserve to have his body cloned so Robot – one of his best friends – could transfer consciousness to it. Although shocked, Rex wasn’t a jerk about such a significant issue, so I was mostly on his side.
Still, he ruined everything again.
Rex started acting out, treating Kate as a sexual object. He pretty much states to bulletproof that she’s not the type of girl to marry and offers to make her loneliness disappear if Immortal doesn’t do the job.
But something big happened as I prepared to throw away my newfound appreciation of Rex due to this barrage of stupid comments.
Something that would change my perception forever.
The Lizard League struck.
Most heroes were fighting an alien invasion in space, so the league broke into a military facility to steal the world’s most potent missiles and blackmail the government in exchange for money.
However, Rex, Shrink Ray, and DupliKate were ready to stop them.
The heroes start fighting, but when Kate dies, that’s it for Rex.
He enters rage mode and joins in his most badass fight ever.
It’s a blood bath. A villain bites Rex’s hand off, but the hero explodes the bitten member and kills his enemy. The league’s leader arrives and shoots Rex in the head – but he doesn’t die. So Rex fights until becoming victorious.
See, I told you it all started with a bullet to the head?
It was impossible to hate Rex after that. While he wasn’t perfect, his willingness to die and save the planet shed him in new glorious light. Besides, he would surprise me a few more times.
Heel Face Turn
Wow, that’s great news, Eve. I’m happy for you. You two will make a great couple!” – Splode, Rex.
During the following issues, Mark and Eve visit Rex in the hospital, and he plays cupid’s game. The yellow-costumed superhero urges them to show their feelings toward each other. I loved this development because it showed Rex’s growth.
But even though Rex didn’t have a girlfriend, he had a new mechanical hand that shot projectiles.
Pretty cool, huh?
Still, not everyone believed in Rex’s heroism. Kate’s brother, Multi-Paul, thought Rex sold his sister out to The Lizard League, causing her death. So Rex and Invincible had to fight Paul until Kate showed up alive.
How was Kate alive? Well, that’s a matter for another article.
The point is, throughout the following issues, Rex shows, again and again, he is a good person. He makes the best decisions and supports the right causes. He takes Invincible’s side once Cecil Stedman‘s unorthodox practices are unveiled; he helps Mark defeat Powerplex; and lastly, he gives his all during the Invincible war.
When villain Angstrom Levy brings evil Invincibles from alternate realities to destroy Mark, they crush the whole world. But once again, Rex is the last line of defense. So when all seems hopeless, he blows his skeleton up and defeats the evil Invincible.
Unfortunately, an exploded skeleton was much worse than a bullet to the head.
Rex was gone.
Aftermath and Reboot
Who the hell is this Jerk?” – Splode, Rex.
Rex’s funeral was packed.
Robot opened with a speech, which I thought was beautiful until the genius stated he would change his name to Rex to honor the fallen hero. I mean, you stole his body, and now you stole his name. That’s creepy, man.
Then Eve follows, saying Rex was her first everything– but she bursts into tears, unable to finish her words. That’s when I understood how much they meant to each other. Because even though Rex hurt her feelings, Eve still cared about him in the end.
But Rex’s death wasn’t the last of him.
Mark Grayson returns to issue one in the reboot arc, and Rex is alive again. Of course, that’s before all character development, so he acts as a jerk.
Still, it warmed up my heart to see him again.
Awesome or Lame?
Rex could have easily been a lame character, but he is awesome. Though his backstory starts the character development process, the confrontation with the Lizard League is the thing that sells it.
Fighting the whole league until getting a bullet to the head was incredible. If it wasn’t for Rex’s sacrifice, the deadliest weapons in the world could have gone to terrible hands.
Likewise, his badass response to the evil Invincible created an awe-inspiring farewell. Rex lit up his skeleton to save the world, and that moment will remain with me until I die.
And the Award of Best Quote Goes To…
I just assumed you had a thing for her – but I do that with every guy who meets a girl I’m dating. I’m starting to think I have issues.”
Invincible, issue 46.
This moment is both funny and poignant. Rex’s sudden realization is perfect comedy timing but delivers substantial character growth. I wonder if that paranoid feeling was behind his mistakes. Maybe he thought that if he cheated first, he couldn’t be hurt. Of course, that’s messed up. But who understands the human mind?
All in all, this phrase’s mix of character development and humor makes this the best for me.
Question: Does Rex Splode Have Super Strength?
Answer: Yes. Rex was subject to experiments that made his muscle tissue denser and stronger. According to The Official Handbook of the Invincible Universe, rex possesses superhuman strength and can lift (press) 1,000 pounds.
Question: Who Voices Rex Splode?
Answer: Rex Splode is voiced by American actor and comedian Jason Mantzoukas.
Question: What are Rex Splode’s Powers?
Answer: Rex Splode has super strength and can turn any inorganic object into an explosive.
Question: How Does Rex Splode Die?
Answer: Rex dies while fighting an evil Invincible from an alternate universe. Rex turns his skeleton into an explosive to defeat the villain and save everyone around him.
From major douchebag to selfless hero, Rex Splode’s journey proves that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge anyone. No matter how annoying they may be.
If you enjoyed Rex’s antics and want to learn more about the comic, you should check Invincible Universe Guide. But if buying an original piece of merch is your goal is, don’t forget to check this Invincible Merch Guide.