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

The Story: The Plutonian starts busting out of prison & we learn some interesting things about Quibit.

What’s Good: Irredeemable is really back to being one of the better comics on the stands.  A true “don’t miss” every month.  This series is so unpredictable and so unafraid to do weird things that everyone should really be enjoying it.

When we last left Plutonian, he had proven himself to be too powerful for the aliens (the Vespans) to hold, so they dumped him on some uber-prison that is inside the core of a star.  Not only was it a prison, but a place to house the criminally insane of the galaxy (which Plutonian learned when a couple of “helpful” aliens basically stripped down and humped his legs while licking him all over… *puke* This issue finds us clearly in “Phase II” of the Irredeemable story as Plutonian is going to bust out of this prison with the help of a mysterious friend and probably return to Earth.

One thing that has always made this series so cool is that there are all sorts of things going on in the panels beyond what is in the script.  For example, in the opening sequence, Plutonian and his new buddy are having a conversation about the nature of the planet.  We keep getting slightly wider views of what Plutonian is doing and little by little, we realized that he is standing in the midst of bloody bodies of other inmates, but Waid just lets this image soak in for a page or two before having the new friend drop some comment like, “You know, it should be clear that you can’t beat any more information out of these inmates!”  By doing this, he leaves us with some little mystery for us to ponder and this is such a good storytelling tool.  Many comics could be fully read and understood without even looking at the art… But that’s not the case with Irredeemable.  Waid always has his artists doing weird things in the background.

Also cool is the concept of this prison.  The horny aliens have already shown us how deranged the inmates can be, but that’s just the beginning.  Apparently, only the meek and mild inmates get to life on the surface.  The real sickos are underground and guess where the escape door is???  That’s right, we’re going to get an Alighierian descent into Hell.

Furthermore, we learn some new things about Quibit in this issue as he deals with the Vespans.  He’s always kinda been the washcloth of the superheroes, but here we learn that he is clearly more than we’d assumed.  In fact, he just might be one of the more powerful creatures in the galaxy (dovetailing with some similar comments made in Incorruptible).

Again, the art is strong.  There is never a panel where it is unclear what is going on and both Krause and Barreto have very old-school, clean linework.

What’s Not So Good: There’s really nothing to complain about with the story and my only quibble with the art is that I wish the art would take as many chances as the story does.  I’m sure Krause and Barreto could do it, so it must be some kinda editorial mandate keeping the art very almost “house style”.  That’s not so say the art is bad. It’s really good, but this title could be even edgier.

Conclusion: Irredeemable puts out another great little issue where half of the really cool things happen outside of the written script and aren’t even explained.  I love comics that make you say, “No, wait, don’t move on with the story.  Let’s go back and look at that again!”

Grade: B+

-Dean Stell

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