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

The Story: So, what has the Plutonian been up to since getting captured by the uber-powerful space aliens?

What’s Good: Irredeemable makes me a little jealous of the folks who got to read classic superheroes back the 50’s or 60’s.  Back then, you could probably have convinced yourself that the Fantastic Four really could die, but nowadays I’ve gotten kinda cynical about my mainstream superheroes.  But Irredeemable is different and has a nice mix of (a) anything can happen and (b) longevity because this series seems to be here for the long haul.

In the last story arc, we saw the Plutonian get captured by some super-duper race of aliens and taken away as their prisoner.  I honestly had no idea if that was the last we were going to see of the Plutonian for a while (ever?).  Waid has plenty of story to talk about back on Earth, but it turns out that we are going to keep the Plutonian as a center of this story for a little longer.  It turns out that the aliens had a very utilitarian use in mind for the big guy and that is cool.  But the scene-stealer for me in the early part of this issue was the trip inside of his mind and seeing him daydream about being redeemed back on Earth.  Based on the very, very cool ending to this issue, it looks like he will return to Earth at some point.  Is there anything he can do to redeem himself?

Back on Earth, we can see that they’re going to have a problem with Survivor.  He is the guy who originally had a twin and we learned that they were sharing a powerset.  When one twin died, the “Survivor” powered-up pretty dramatically and while his power was requisite in getting rid of the Plutonian, he is a good exercise in “absolute power corrupting absolutely”, or to steal a line from Alan Moore: Who watches the Watchmen?

Survivor had been a little one-note for me (always yelling), but he gets a little nuance in this issue.  I also love that his brother (who secretly is not dead) is being established as his Kryptonite (of sorts).

The art is straightforward and professional.  This is going to sound like a very backhanded complement, and I don’t mean it that way, but not every artist needs to be JH Williams, III.  Sometimes good, solid art that comes out on time and tells its portion of the story is what a comic needs.

What’s Not So Good: Nothing major, but I honestly was hoping that Waid would move away from Plutonian.  By keeping that story line kicking, it tickles that cynic inside of me that says, “These guys can never really die.”

Speaking of storylines, I think it is time to get that Modeus-robot storyline out of the oven.  That puppy has been baking for a year or so, but hasn’t really progressed beyond a one-panel reminder here-and-there that. Yes, the Modeus robot is still there…  Wouldn’t the Paradigm be interested in finding him now?

And, how does the Survivor’s power work? I hate to get all comic-nerd, but were the Survivor and his brother never separated before?  Or will there be some explanation that the power-sharing between the two was interrupted by “something”?

AND the uber aliens seem—Well, they seem kinda weak and dorky.  It would be cliché to cover them in pincers and fangs, but I look at these guys and think, “Hell…I could kick the crap outta those guys.”  They’re just not scary and they should be.

I’m also going to go back to my standard issue with the art in this series.  While it is very competent, it is not striving for anything more.  I’m a little unusual and read comics for the art, not so much the story.  If I want story, I can go read a book.  Irredeemable is still a great series, but it is winning me over purely on writing and if Waid loses a few mph off his fastball in the future, I might not be an enamored with the series.  I just like to see artists try to “go for it” sometimes.

Conclusion: 21 issues in and showing no signs of slowing down.  This issue is light on actual events, but foreshadows the hell out of what we can expect over the next year.  I’m looking forward to it.

Grade: B

-Dean Stell