By: Mark Waid (writer), Horacio Domingues (pencils), Juan Castro (inks), Andrew Dalhouse (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters)

The Story: More Jailbait fun and Max Damage begins to come into conflict with the Diamond Gang.

What’s Good: One thing that I love about Incorruptible (and its sister title, Irredeemable) is that they are not written in story arcs.  Each issue is “what happened next” and it reminds me of how comics were as a kid in the 1980’s before comics were written in arcs with each arc beginning some indeterminate time after the preceding arc (days? weeks? months?, who knows?).  This issue continues following the very compelling little tale of Jailbait, Max Damage’s 16-year old sidekick (nee, accomplice).  She’s a very compelling character who is really the moral center for the entire comic.  I guess that Max is technically the main character, but I find that I really don’t care about him very much.  Witness, he gets hurt pretty badly at the end of this issue and I don’t think I cared……but I was very curious about what happened to Jailbait after she snuck off.  I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her because she is too good of a character to lose.  And, we even have a little bit of “Who will wear the leather tramp costume” action going on here as we see some cute young thing swipe Jailbait’s costume from her room.  I definitely want to know what is going on with that!

This comic is also neat in that it doesn’t spoon-feed everything to you.  After reading several pages of Max talking like he’s having a stroke, you realize that it’s simply because he hasn’t slept and his body is becoming hard as a brick (that’s his power).  But, Waid just allows this to happen organically during the issue and spares us any yawning or inner monologue that explains what is going on.

The art on this title is much improved.  I wouldn’t say it’s a book to buy for the art, but the art is no longer holding this title back.

What’s Not So Good: Even though this title does avoid standard story arcs, this was still an issue that was more in the vein of “introducing new stuff” rather than having things happening.  That’s inevitable in serialized storytelling and Waid has lots of good toys to play with in future issues, but it did hold this issue back a bit.

Also, as I mentioned above, I find that I don’t give a damn about Max Damage.  That could be a problem as this series moves along because he is supposed to be the main character and this title is supposed to be about his drive to redeem himself.  We also haven’t gotten a good look at just how rotten he was: everything about his past is just coming from word balloons that say, “He’s Max Damage!  Public enemy #1!”  Maybe they need to show some of his past?  I think if he was shown to have pulled off some Bullseye-level depravity, I might connect more with his effort to be good.

One final quibble with this title is how Jailbait is drawn.  The big bad thing that we know about Max’s past is that he was having this sexual relationship with the underage Jailbait.  The problem is that Jailbait is drawn to look like a 25-year old pornstar.  The ship has sailed on this point, but imagine how uncomfortable we would be as readers if Jailbait actually looked like a developing young woman?  Missed opportunity by the first art team…

Conclusion: This is still a very compelling series and leaves me always wondering, “What will happen next?”

Grade: C+

– Dean Stell