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

The Story: After getting shot in the last issue, will Max Damage survive?  And what is the next chapter in the story of Jailbait?

What’s Good: I’ve been pretty unabashed in my love of the character Jailbait.  Waid really mixes things up nicely in this issue, giving us Jailbait 2.0 by bringing back the girl who Max had forced to play Jailbait a few issues ago.  It turns out that her family was murdered by a group of skinhead-like thugs who idolize the Plutonian and she is willing to play Jailbait if Max promises to keep her safe.

This whole Jailbait tale is really shaping up to be a fun and dramatic story.  Surely the original Jailbait isn’t going to be thrilled with this new development, so it looks like Max Damage is starting a collection of emotionally damaged young ladies.  In a way, I like the new Jailbait better because it is hard to think of Max as truly heroic when the original Jailbait was basically a walking, talking reminder of his past pedophilia.  Nothing heroic about pedophilia!

We also see that this issue is sending us towards an inevitable clash between Max and the Plutonian.  It isn’t coming up in the next issue, but it is nice to see more of an effort to make it clear that this story is happening in the same universe with Irredeemable (otherwise it doesn’t make a lot of sense).

What’s Not So Good: I hate to complain about the art because it is way, way better than what this series started out with, but I still think this style is a little too cartoony for a story that is set in a pretty dark place.

This story also had some challenging pacing.  To really understand what was going on, I had to reread the issue 3 times AND also revisit issue #7.  Having done all of that, I think this is quite a good story and I don’t mind working hard to enjoy a story, but there was no reason for this story to be this complex.

Conclusion: Some good story elements here, but the art and convoluted story hamper the overall effect.

Grade: C+

– Dean Stell