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

The Story: Ever wonder how the Plutonian’s powers really work?  Or how a villain with psychic powers flirts with women in a bar?  Well, in this issue you find out.

What’s Good: This issue is mostly one where the reader is just along for the ride, as Waid has already established what this phase of the story will be about and we’re now just watching the action unfold.  So, while nothing Earth-shattering takes place in this issue, it still has lots of good little bits that make this one of the better superhero titles on the stands.

Much of the action takes place between Quibit and the Modeus robot as they trek across an M.C. Escher-like inter-dimensional space.  During this walk, Modeus reveals that the Plutonian’s powers are all mental, and that they come down to his ability to control matter at a molecular level.  So, the reasoning is that Plutonian isn’t really strong, he just makes the objects he’s lifting weigh less and this makes sense because (as Modeus explains) there is no way to put that much power and energy into a human-sized container.  The storytelling here was also clever: as Modeus explained the power, we would see a panel of Plutonian using the power during his escape from the prison planet.  This little Quibit/Modeus-adventure over the last few issues has made both of these characters quite a lot more interesting.

In other action, we see that Survivor is getting ready to snap.  That’s kinda the “other shoe” that Irredeemable readers have been waiting to drop since about issue 12 or so and it ties into the “morally gray” theme that Waid has established for this title.  We also get to touch base with a couple of these super-villains that Survivor has drafted into action in a funny little scene in a bar.  These villains are perverse in a way that Marvel/DC just can’t do with their villains; and it’s things like this that make Irredeemable stand apart.  For example, the psychic flirts with women in the bar by asking the girls to imagine themselves naked and having sex with him. Even though they storm off in disgust, he gets off on the brief mental image that subconsciously flashes through their mind.  Sick!

What’s Not So Good: I’m sure that Waid has completely thought this explanation of Plutonian’s powers through.  He’s too good of a writer to just fling out some BS explanation, so I’ve got faith that this will all tie up neatly with a bow.  But, that being said I did have trouble with a few of the explanations for his powers like his X-ray vision working by reducing the density of the object he’s looking at.  Wouldn’t everyone be able to see through the object then?  Hmm…  I hope that this explanation of his powers is tied to the story somehow because otherwise it is just a red herring for fanboys to fixate upon.

The art wasn’t working for me in this issue.  There’s nothing wrong with it from a storytelling perspective, but I heavily prefer a more cartooning approach to comics.  The art also got very brushy in this issue compared to what we’ve seen in the past and I’m not sure that’s a good look.  It just made everything look kinda blurry and poorly defined.  I think that brushy can work, but you need to do something else to inject energy into the characters.

Conclusion: A fun and enjoyable issue in the middle of a bigger story.  Waid continues to do little deviant things that make this series stand apart and not be “just another superhero story”.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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