Amazon Prime Video’s beloved animated superhero show “Invincible” has finally returned for season two.

“Invincible” is a series that thrives on subverting audience expectations. The first episode’s tone is lighthearted, only revealing the brutality the show has become known for in a now famous post-credit scene. While most post-credit scenes are reserved for short previews of what’s to come or inconsequential gags, “Invincible” used its very first to set the tone for everything that followed — and while great care was taken in the first season to hint at developments to come, its ending still felt remarkably definitive. After failing to overcome the compassion he’s developed in his time on Earth, Omni-Man flees the planet alone, leaving his broken and battered wife and son to pick up the pieces.

Over two years passed between the end of season one and the release of season two’s first episode, making it all the more remarkable how naturally the story begins to build momentum once again. Every new idea stems from characters established in the first season, such as the martian shapeshifter from season one returning as the wannabe superhero “Shapesmith,” Allen the Alien’s adventures in space or the Immortal’s return to the Guardians. “Invincible’s” storytelling manages to work off of what has been established earlier while still introducing a variety of new ideas and characters. The universe of “Invincible” feels as alive as its titular character, with so many factions and characters all working toward different goals. Cecil wants to protect the planet from any supernatural threats it may face, Donald wants to understand why he seemingly died and returned without any memory of it, Debbie wants to move forward with her life and heal and William just wants to make it through college. While these characters are regular humans without any powers of their own, their stories are engaging to follow and they serve to enhance the already exciting stories of alien fistfights and multiverse time travel.

However, just as season one ended with perhaps its strongest episode up until that point, season two has already pumped the brakes following its fourth episode. The second half of season two is being withheld until 2024.

The second season of “Invincible” has so far been about everything a fan of the comics could reasonably ask for. It has proven itself worth the wait, but in doing so has also left fans waiting yet again. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to allow audiences to appreciate what’s already been released, but doing so immediately after a two-year drought is quite jarring. All that waiting for half a season before being plunged back into yet more waiting is a tough pill to swallow.

One can enter this second season desperate for answers to the never-ending list of questions left by the first. One can attest to the season’s success with the show’s format of only ever answering questions with new questions. This style helps establish Nolan “Omni-Man” Grayson’s character as the most exceptional development in season two so far.

Nolan is one of the most crucial characters in season one, dominating every scene he’s in with J.K. Simmons’ excellent voice acting and gut-wrenchingly violent fights. Season two starts with Nolan already gone, forever changed by his son and the planet he’s grown to love. Without the subdued menace Nolan offered before, season two was seemingly starting at a massive disadvantage. Omni-Man was the showstopper, but the show didn’t stop once he did.

Nolan’s grand return does not come with fanfare or a climactic fight. He doesn’t return to Earth to finish the job or even in search of forgiveness. Instead, Nolan’s son, Mark, is visited by a character who turns out to be an alien in disguise. The alien tells Mark he must come to his planet and save his people, but the people seem fine when Mark arrives. Mark is strung along through lie after lie, growing increasingly suspicious, until Nolan finally reveals himself as the one who sent for him. He’s no longer the vicious killer from before. He’s soft-spoken, uncertain and deeply pained by the horror of his past actions, a complete reversal of who he was when he was last seen on Earth. However, Nolan is taken away again by the Viltrumites for execution. The question of where Nolan was is answered, but new questions can be asked — what will Mark do now? Will he try to save his father on Viltrum?

“Invincible” remains exciting, emotionally gripping and ruthless. Whether it be Mark’s coming of age in college, his superhero escapades or the tortured Grayson family, the second season of “Invincible” continues to expand on the foundations of its story while introducing a slew of compelling new villains, obstacles and set pieces to keep audiences hooked. Only time will tell if the second half can measure up to the first, but what’s released so far has been promising.