By: Mark Waid (writer), Horacio Domingues (art), Juan Castro (inks), Andrew Dalhouse (colors) & Ed Dukeshire (letters)
The Story: Will Max Damage compromise his new (very new) superhero ideals to save Jailbait?
What’s Good: For those who have followed Incorruptible since issue #1, it hasn’t been 100% clear what kind of hero Max Damage would turn into. Is he going to be a Captain American-type boy scout? Or is he going to be some kind of murkier hero like someone from the Thunderbolts or Suicide Squad?
When we last left this story in issue #5, Jailbait (Max’s underage sex-toy from his criminal days) had been kidnapped and the bad guys were starting to mail her to him piece-by-piece (a finger first). What lengths would Max go to in order to save Jailbait?
I like the turn that Waid gives Max. He’s going to be a no compromises hero; there will be no negotiating with criminals or terrorists. This works really well considering that Incorruptible is a mirror to Irredeemable. Just as the Plutonian has gone from being Superman to a twisted, perverted mass-murderer, it makes sense that Max (who kept a 16 year old as a sex-toy) would become a boy scout. I also like this direction because it will set up a constant struggle for Max to toe the line. Honestly, if Max had just morphed into some kind of anti-hero, you could have made the case that he hadn’t really changed at all…
Waid is also doing a lovely job of making Jailbait the emotional core of this series. As we learn more about her character, we’re seeing that she is just a really screwed up kid. Max was kinda all she had in the world and she is going through a bit of an identity crisis now that Max isn’t consorting with 16 year olds. Didn’t we all know some girl in high school who had a heart of gold, but was a bit too easy because she had really low self-esteem and a lousy father? Didn’t you just want to shake her and say, “Honey, this is not the way to make yourself happy!” Jailbait is that girl.
From a story-development standpoint, Waid finally gets the car in gear and it is time. The whole series, I’d wondered when we would be done (at least mostly done) with the character development and start seeing Max do some superhero stuff. It looks like that is about to get started.
What’s Not So Good: The art has held this title back since the beginning. Even with the artist change last issue, this still isn’t the right art for this title. The art IS a lot better with Domingues and I think he is a good artist, but the style is a little too cartoony for this subject matter. I think it would be GREAT art on a title like Atomic Robo where the whole premise is a little silly, but Incorruptible is a dark series: You’ve got 16 year-old girls getting fingers chopped off and statutory rape going on. I think this series could really benefit from some Alex Maleev-style art. Or if that photo-realism isn’t your bag, something more crime-themed like we see in Criminal or Stumptown. So, to be clear, I think the art is good. I just don’t think it fits this series.
Conclusion: A good issue. We know who Max Damage is now and it looks like he is going to start busting some heads.
– Dean Stell