By: Mark Waid (creator/writer), Peter Krause (art), Andrew Dalhouse (colors) & Ed Dukeshire (letters)
The Story: Mark Waid sets the table as Irredeemable moves into its next story arc.
What’s Good: As I mentioned above, this is mostly an issue for establishing a new status quo in the Irredeemable universe and Waid does a very good job with this difficult task (again). It is just this ability that makes me shake my head when I hear people who read the first few issues of Irredeemable say, “It’s just a story of what would happen if Superman turned evil. I don’t need to read that.” It is true that the series started out that way, but it has become so much more as we learn more about these characters who we still know surprisingly little about.
The coolest thing that Waid puts out there in this story is a new potential power of Kaidan. She has been one of the least explored of the good guys in this series. Her power is to summon the powers of Japanese folk tales (think ghostly samurais) to assist her. In this issue we see her having a modest funeral for their fallen compatriot, Volt. But, as she eulogizes Volt (and some other heroes killed by the Plutonian), she actually summons their ghostly forms making it seem possible that if she can create a legend of sorts around a fallen hero, she can access their power set. Very cool! I’m especially interested to see more of Hornet (the Batman like character who was killed in Issue #1).
Plutonian also continues to become a very interesting and three-dimensional character. After seeing what a wicked and sick dude he was in the earlier parts of this series, I have begun to feel sorry for him as we learn more about made him snap.
Finally, it is a real boon to have Peter Krause back on art duties. He had to take a few issues off and the fill in artists were not bad, but Krause is the guy who really gave this book its distinctive look and I’m glad to see him back rather than someone else aping his style.
What’s Not So Good: I could do without some of the moralizing that Waid seems to be setting up with Cary/Survivor (the one hero with the ability to fight the Plutonian to a standstill). One of the themes in the last story arc was that the government tried to apprehend all of the other heroes to prevent any of them going crazy as well. Survivor didn’t take that treatment too well and while his actions in this issue are understandable, it is a little annoying to see the implied subtext that Survivor could be just as bad as the Plutonian if he keeps it up. I just don’t need to see that sort of obvious, plot-device ironic twist in a comic that I’m really enjoying. I get it: Sometimes it is a very thin line between being good and being bad.
Conclusion: Still going strong, Mark Waid has established another compelling status quo in this series and I’m eager to see how it develops.
– Dean Stell