Irredeemable #5 Review

Irredeemable #5Man, Mark Waid really is evil. More than the clever marketing slogan that launched this series, it’s becoming increasingly real as I read each new issue of this superhero-turned-bad series from BOOM! Studios. When I saw Waid at Comic-Con he was all smiles and thankful nods. If I see him again, I think I’ll avoid eye contact and walk slowly away.

With lines like, “On the upside, however, this is a boom time for map makers,”and, “Let’s call it even,” once noble superhero The Plutonian stamps his evil intent upon the world. His former team-mates of The Paradigm are inching their way to something that may one day resemble success and doubts over The Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend, Bette surface. The Paradigm are the sort of superhero archetypes we’ve seen before, and Waid humorously acknowledges that fact through the character of Volt, a black electricity wielding hero.

Waid does a great job once more of unleashing superpowered bitterness and child-like rage through his main character’s behaviour, and Peter Krause’s art is not overly rendered, but done with a darkness that fits into Waid’s plots. One glare or wry smile from The Plutonian is more than enough here, and that Hitchcock level of restraint from showing violence makes these pages work a treat.

As “slipped” at BOOM!’s Comic-Con panel, a new series called Incorruptible could be on the way, and with a title like that I can only assume it offers a look at The Plutonian’s past before the mysterious turning point flipped his switch. Waid wisely gives us glimpses at the character’s happier past in Irredeemable, but if BOOM! provides a look at The Plutonian’s two states of mind in separate, though perhaps concurrently running, series it opens up this tale to an even deeper reading experience.

The $10 TPB of the first four issues of this great series is out now, and seeing as #5 is only 99c you can get the whole mad tale thus far for less than $11. I bought mine yesterday because it’s one of those books you have to own to pass to your non-fanboy friends, despite any possible doubts they may have. This isn’t “just another superhero series,” and that’s what makes it so brilliant.

Irredeemable #4 Review

Irredeemable #4There’s a real weight behind this title thanks to the power of the name behind it. I grew up on many Mark Waid written comics. He was one of the creators that cemented my love for sequential art, and primarily superheroes. I can picture Waid typing away at the keyboard with an evil cackle, twirling his moustache and then perhaps tying a damsel to the closest railway tracks while he creates this series. Irredeemable is the product of Bizarro Waid.

With a handy catch up page here, newcomers can understand what’s gone before. However, the summary can’t contain the emotional wallop that Waid and artist Peter Krause have created in the previous issues. If you are new to this title, grab the TPB in August, which is even more tempting as it’s only $9.99.

Basically however, The Plutonian is earth’s greatest superhero, or rather, he was. Now he’s joined the dark side and is fed up with humanity, which is entirely understandable really. We all get that way at times, while suffering fools in our daily lives. However, we don’t have superpowers and the best of us will often show our contempt with a stern word or a rolling of the eyes. Imagine if we had superpowers and then hrew a tantrum. Then things would get real ugly, real quick.

The Plutonian’s former team-mates of super group, The Paradigm are desperately trying to find clues from their ex-friend’s past, in order to discover his weakness. It’s a race against time and they are only making small steps towards an uncertain victory. In this issue, The Plutonian continues his world-wide rampage and in a great scene at the United Nations, shows the world that it is unwise to unite against him, or to lie to him. Singapore suffers tragically at his hands while other countries can only hope to appease his wrath by offering him sovereignty over their people.

Waid’s timing and Krause’s emotional renditions work well together, to reveal the human face of devastation, and the sheer desperation of The Paradigm who show what true heroism really is. However, I feel an urge to know more about The Plutonian’s turning. So far only hints have been given, and there are no real further clues in this fourth issue. We can’t be expected to feel any kind of sympathy for The Plutonian, but a greater level of understanding is due. Rooting for The Paradigm is mandatory, but The Plutonian, while scary due to a lack of humanity also lacks any motivation for evil so far. He’s the bad guy because of what he does, but we still have no concrete idea as to why. The Paradigm apparently know very little about The Plutonian, and perhaps will come to question their trust over the years of a man, or super man, they knew little about.

In this issue is also an 8 page preview of Poe, which launches in July. Written by J. Barton Mitchell, with gloomy art by Dean Kotz it shows famous scribe Edgar Allan Poe as a widower in a mental health facility, facing nightmares about a dead girl, while his brother tries his best to help him. It’s a pretty good intro to the series and looks gothic enough in its approach.

Irredeemably Cheap

In August you can grab the first 5 issues of the mega-awesome dark superhero tale, Irredeemable from BOOM! Studios for just $11 – American. Written by Mark Waid with art by Peter Krause, it really is a guilty pleasure. The TPB collecting the first four issues will be released on the same day as the new 5th issue, for only 99 cents. That’s an evil bargain!

Irredeemable TPB Ad

Irredeemable #3 Review

Irredeemable #3 CoverBasically 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.

Irredeemable #2 Review

irredeemable_002aSure, the first two issues of this excellent series from BOOM! Studios have sold out, but second printings will be available very soon. I heaped my praise on the first issue (as did many others) and will do so again now.

Irredeemable is a new series from writer Mark Waid. If you have any interest in comics, you owe it to yourself to Google that name and pick up whatever you can find with his name on it at your LCS or bookstore. Waid is legendary. The classic Kingdom Come is as good as he gets, though it means more to long-time readers, though he’s proved with all the monthly assignments he’s had over the years, (The Flash, Captain America, etc) that he knows how to welcome newbies too. Irredeemable will satisfy both parties.

Issue 1 was a great set up. It’s such a simple premise, that I’m certain it’s been done before, but surely without such panache. Waid knows superheroes. The mindset, philosophies, the grand soap operas, the relationships in constant turmoil. All that stuff, plus fist fights between spandex clad characters is the glue that makes superhero comics great. With Irredeemable Waid respects those conventions, yet shatters them at the same time. His skill lies in not being too flamboyant and in yoir face, like other superhero ‘re-examinations’ such as The Authority or Kick Ass attempt. Waid is a gentleman, and doesn’t resort to nudity, profanity and blood letting to get his point across. However, saying that, as BOOM!’s marketing ploy reminded us weeks ago, “Mark Waid is evil.”

So here’s the story – The Plutonian was a great do-gooder; a costumed inspiration in the vein of Superman. Now he’s turned bad and is swiftly executing his former Paradigm team-mates. As is the trend of story telling these days, it’s told in a non-linear fashion. We are given glimpses of the past (during sunnier times, when the cracks started to show in the heroic visage) and mainly of the present with the world’s most powerful man on a vicious rampage. Kaidan, one of The Plutonian’s former allies,  seeks The Plutonian’s initially surly girlfriend for answers. She tells Kaidan of their romance, and how the only villain he ever feared was Modeus, and gives hints to his background.  I won’t spoil anymore than that. There’s a tremendous sense of urgency in this issue. We are never shown The Plutonian in the present. He exists only in flashbacks, yet Waid builds the menace like a crafty architect.

If you’ve ever enjoyed superhero tales for any length of time, you must grab this series. Sure, the characters are all new, but we recognise them instantly. It seems to me that over all the years Waid has been writing comics, he’s been storing away ideas for this series in the dark corners of his notepad. He unleashes blistering pages with ease. The highlight of this issue is an unpleasant, yet realistic, twist on the classic secret identity concept. It’s obvious Waid has really thought about this whole superhero thing and just what it means as part of a practical, daily existence, with all the desperation, responsibility and horror that accompany it.

Peter Krause’s art is suitably dark and frightening, and grounded in reality. It’s a perfect match for what Waid is up to. There really is a tremendous piece of fiction being unveiled here, with precision and fury. Don’t miss out on this series. It’s one of the very few that have me looking forward to each astonishing instalment.

Irredeemable #1 Review

Irredeemable #1Wow. Just – wow. I’ve never doubted Mark Waid’s mad skills behind the keyboard. The guy knows how to write good superhero comics, and has done so for years. Anyone who’s read Kingdom Come will agree. Now that he’s the EIC of BOOM! Studios, he appears to be ramping things up, free from the tight editorial reigns that The Big Two can sometimes choke a writer’s potential with.

With the clever marketing campaign stating “Mark Waid Is Evil,” fans were curious. The guy’s not exactly a squeaky clean comics writer. Those days haven’t existed since Batman was dancing on TV. Nor is he Warren Ellis though. However, with this new series, he seems to be exploring the darkness of costumed adventuring to a greater degree than he ever has before. The whole premise of this book is the slow corruption of a good superhero (the first and the best actually) before he begins to hunt down his terrified team-mates. Peter Krause’s art is suitably realistic and vicious and the terror is palpable. Waid – you’ve done it again.

To say more than that would be to ruin the wonderful slam dunk that this debut issue is. Anyone who’s read superhero comics for any length of time needs to read this. It’s a quick read (with an afterword by Grant Morrison and a preview of The Unknown), and not many details are offered, save that The Plutonian has now turned and his fellow spandex wearers are helpless. Imagine if Superman had enough of the human race. If all our stupidity and constant bickering and evil just made the most powerful creature on earth snap. And there was nothing we could do about it. That is Irreedemable, and it’s great stuff.