By: Mark Waid (writer), Peter Krause & Diego Barreto (art), Andrew Dalhouse (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) & Matt Gagnon (editor)

The Story: Now that the Plutonian has been kidnapped by aliens, what happens next?

What’s Good: This was nice issue for this comic to readjust itself.  After the fun romp we’ve had for the last few issues, culminating with the Plutonian being kidnapped by the uber-aliens at the end of last issue, Waid needed to settle things down a little bit and establish the new status quo.  Having Plutonian off the board (at least for now) is a pretty big deal since his actions have been the reason for this series’ existence.

One of the best things about a series like Irredeemable is that it has had a singular writer throughout.  Some of the things that Waid uses in this issue (like The Survivor being a bit of a blowhard d-bag) come from kernels that he planted 10-15 issues ago.  I love seeing that as a reader because it tells me that the writer has a PLAN for the series and isn’t merely writing a bunch of disconnected 4-6 issue arcs to be collected in trade.

This issue also wouldn’t be a bad jumping on point for someone new to the series.

Overall, this story starts a few neat things in motion.  I’ve already mentioned The Survivor’s blowhard nature as he addresses the Earth to announce their victory over the Plutonian.  I cringed throughout this entire speech at what a jackass the guy sounded like (and I’m pretty sure that’s what Waid wanted).  It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out on Earth when some of the heroes are kinda jerks.  We also touched base with the Plutonian himself.  He’s in a really bad place and Waid has cunningly set the table for him to be a bit of an underdog/anti-hero that we can root for.  I doubt he’ll stay down forever!  And….there is one interesting tidbit that the aliens mention that makes me think Earth hasn’t seen the last of them.  The cool thing about that alien subplot is now that we know Waid plots this stuff out in advance, that story element might not circle back for another 10-20 issues.

There’s even a tidbit for Incorruptible fans!

Artwise, this is a very strong issue again.  It is very easy to overlook Krause and/or Barreto’s art because it is just competently good, solid comic book art.  But, if you read as many comics as I do, you sometimes long for good, solid comic book art.  With these two you never look at a page and say, “C’mon man!  That dude’s forearm is as long as his entire torso!”

What’s Not So Good: This is a catch-your-breath issue, so there isn’t non-stop action in this issue.  I’m okay with that, but some folks might complain.

I also really wish that whoever is holding Krause back would let him off the leash for at least an issue.  He is so technically solid as an artist, I would really like to see him try some more experimental stuff because I think it would be really good.

This is hardly a complaint, but I miss that this series used to have lots of story elements that were not in the spoken script.  And example was when Bette Noir peeked into the Plutonian’s shrine to her (back around issue #5).  Nothing was said in the text, but the art told the whole story.  That was a neat element to this series and I’d love to see it come back.

Conclusion: This is really a good jumping on point for this series.  What makes Waid (and this series) special is that he can create a jumping on point without pooping all over existing fans.  Waid sets up a lot of intriguing ideas in this issue and I’ll be excited to see what they lead us.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell