Basically all you need to know about this series is that it is centered on The Plutonian. He used to be a great goodie and he’s turned into an evil baddie. It’s a great and simple premise, but writer Mark Waid has fashioned it into quite the complex tale. As any scribe knows, or is at least told, no-one wakes up in the morning and decides, “I think I’m going to be evil today!” Every well crafted villain, especially in comics is motivated by what they see as a genuine cause. Lex Luthor is motivated by his ego, Magneto is motivated by belief in mutant superiority, and so on.
The beauty of Irredeemable is that we are given glimpses into The Plutonian’s reasons for turning evil; the emotional erosion that gradually forced him to turn from humanity. As he says here he lives in “a world of miserable, bitter, ungrateful paramecium who lash out at you in a state of perpetual rage for not solving their problems fast enough.” It’s part of a great speech and gives concrete words to the years of frustration he’s obviously felt as the world’s most loved superhero.
This ish opens with a voyeuristic, though unrevealing, sex scene. Apparently the ex-hero likes to watch, and has lost someone dear to him. Like the previous issues, there is carnage here as his former team-mates from The Paradigm discover a Batcave-like hideout of Inferno, one of The Plutonian’s friends. After Inferno’s death, his secret identity became public, so the Paradigm members go there in the hopes of finding some clues as to how to stop The Plutonian’s rampage.
A few supervillains have the same idea, and just when it looks like The Plutonian will team up with them, he shows that he’s not really that interested in making any friends.
Peter Krause’s art is freshly realistic, but not overly so. Some of his costume designs seem somewhat outdated, but it must be difficult to come up with new superpowered analogues. We’ve seen a lot of them, and Mark Waid has created a many over the years.
This isn’t the best issue of the series, but it does move the tale forward. The danger would be in not humanizing The Plutonian, while only throwing us tantalizing glimpses of the past, a la Lost. However it’s obvious that Waid has thought about the past, present and future of Irredeemable and is having as much corrupted fun throwing it at us as we are with reading it.