By: Mark Waid (writer), Peter Krause (art), Andrew Dalhouse (colors) & Ed Dukeshire (letters)

The Story: A new threat emerges and we learn about it from an unlikely source.

What’s Good: Mark Waid just continues to stir the pot on this awesome series.  In some ways, Irredeemable makes one think of what it must have been like to read JLA back in the early days when the characters and worlds were not so established.  And, this book is really more of a JLA-type book.  It has been derided by some commentators as merely “Superman gone bad” and it is true that the title started with that concept, but it has morphed into more of a superhero team book where we are learning something new about the heroes and the world every month.

One of the characters we haven’t seen much of in Irredeemable is the Hornet.  This guy is basically the Irredeemable world’s answer to Batman: No powers, but crafty and 20 steps ahead of everyone else.  Hornet was the first hero we saw killed (along with wife and kid) by the rampaging Plutonian in Issue #1, but other than that, we’ve known very little of him.  In this issue he speaks from beyond the grave to tell his fellow heroes of a “deal with the devil” that he made years ago that is coming home to roost now.  This twist offers both salvation and doom for our heroes.

It is just hard to say enough about what a good job Waid does of keeping this series fresh.  In an era when some writers at Marvel/DC can barely finish a story arc in 18 issues, Waid has covered an incredible amount of ground and the reader never feels like things are getting stale or becoming something that they have “seen before”.

What’s Not So Good: It would be nice to see a little more “bold-n-daring” with the art.  Krause’s art is never, ever problematic, let’s be clear on that.  The characters are all well designed, you can always tell what is going on in panels, but the whole thing can get a little paint-by-numbers at times.  And given how much Mark Waid is going for it (such as this awful Faustian bargain the Hornet made in this issue), it would be nice to see the artist following suit.

Conclusion: If you are sick of reading superhero comics that chase their own tails, this is the series for you.  Constantly fresh and imaginative.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell