By: Mark Waid (writer), Marcio Takara (art), Nolan Woodard (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) & Matt Gagnon (editor)

The Story: Max Damage has to perform his first heroic public act: Save the city of Coalville from a nuclear weapon.

What’s Good: One of the central teases for this series when it launched last year was that it was supposed to be the mirror image of Irredeemable.  If Irredeemable shows what happens when the hero goes bad, Incorruptible was supposed to show what happens when the bad-guy takes a heroic turn.  For that story to work, we needed to see the hero (Max Damage) actually do something heroic on a large scale.  So even though this story-arc (where the city of “Coalville” is threatened with destruction by a nuclear bomb in a train) hasn’t been that inspired, we needed to see this heroic act from Max so that he isn’t simply a counter-point to the Plutonian.

In a lot of ways, the Irredeemable/Incorruptible world is basically a post-apocalyptic setting, so all the kinds of things that happen in other comics that are favorites in any zombie or dystopian-future story make sense here.  You would absolutely see the rise of insane people doing bad things and the common people need someone like Max to look out for them.

What’s Not So Good: This issue was a bit of a jumpy mess and has too many bit players.  Of course, Max is the central character.  but Waid also tries to work Hardcase, Alana Patel, the cop and the evil Senator into this story and it just becomes a little too much.  It is important to develop the supporting characters, but we don’t need the page-time to be spread so evenly among characters who aren’t that well developed yet.

I did enjoy Takara’s art from a style standpoint, but I found that in a few places I wasn’t able to follow the action very well and flipped back and forth trying to figure out what exactly was going on.  He seems to be a newer artist and he can draw and his style works for this book, so I’d hope that Boom! gives him a chance.  Perhaps he and Waid just need to work together a little bit more?

From a story standpoint, it would be nice to see Incorruptible a little more tied to the events of Irredeemable.  I can understand the theory that you don’t want the two titles to become one big cross over, but I’d bet there aren’t many people who are reading only Incorruptible.  Wouldn’t the remnants of the Paradigm hear about Max’s escapades in this issue and check it out?

Conclusion: I enjoy this title, but this wasn’t the strongest issue.  It did establish Max Damage as a hero (and that is important), but the storytelling was a bit frantic and disconnected from the art in places.

Grade: C

– Dean Stell