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

The Story: Same as it’s been for the last few months: Plutonian trying to escape from his galactic insane asylum.  Also, the Plutonian is into cutting.

What’s Good: This issue was a nice return to form for Irredeemable.  Waid has consistently made Irredeemable relevant by being unafraid to do slightly deviant and edgy things with the story.  The last few issues weren’t “bad”, but they didn’t quite have the same pop that this issue does where a couple of nasty things happen and the story starts to round itself into shape.

Again, the basic story is that Plutonian and his growing band of followers are busting out of the galactic loony bin where he was dumped ~5 issues ago.  A couple cool things stand out.  For one thing, with Krause’s art on this portion, you can just tell that Plutonian knows that he is THE #1 badass of the asylum.  As they go deeper into the asylum and run into stronger and crazier foes, never once does he slow down and say, “Let’s hang back and observe this new guy’s powers for a minute before fighting with him.”  Nope, he just charges in, improvises and prevails.  It is interesting to see how powerful Plutonian is when put in a galactic setting… And let’s remember that Survivor basically mopped the floor with Plutonian when they last fought, so that would make Survivor a SUPER badass, right?

The story is also coming together.  As Plutonian is getting closer to escape, he’s building up a band of followers who all have weird and twisted abilities (and super cool designs).  I think I see a Paradigm vs. Plutonian Squad battle coming!  Also funny that I’m starting to cheer for the Plutonian…

Oh and this issue is not without the twisted.  At one point, the Plutonian goes from wearing nothing but a loincloth to having a uniform again.  One of his followers says, “Where’d you get the leather?” and the next panel just shows a skinned bad guy.  It is implicit that Plutonian used his super speed to skin the guy, tan the leather and sew a garment but it is a great example of “show, don’t tell”.  And, who knew that the Plutonian would wear leather?

Having reviewed this series for the last ~20 issues, I’ve picked at artist Peter Krause a lot.  I’ve always said that his art is so technically nice, but that I wanted him to take more chances.  Ironically, now that he’s leaving the series in a few issues, I really start to LOVE his work.  Krause handles the Plutonian portion of the story and in a lot of this, Plutonian is running around in a loincloth.  Let’s just say that Krause draws a really nice nearly naked man.  Great anatomy and it’s wonderful how much energy his characters have.  He’s moved to a brushier inking style and I think that is really helping his work because the line is more varied.  Krause would be a great artist on a Tarzan or Conan type story!  Bet he kicks ass at still life.

What’s Not So Good: No real problems.  The Plutonian story is really good, but it kinda shoves the other stories to the side in this issue.  That has been an increasing problem now that Plutonian has become a three-dimensional characters.  In the early issues, he was just “the bad guy” and all the action stayed with our heroes.  Now we’re jumping around more and the story suffers a little bit.

I’m also very ready for the insane asylum arc to end.  It seems like it is almost over, but it’s probably lingered for an issue too long.  And, I really didn’t get the scene at the end where another Plutonian shows up…

I’d still also like a little more variety with the panel designs.  Mostly squared off and full bleed.  It becomes monotonous.

Conclusion: Very nice issue.  Odd that we’re starting to cheer for Plutonian as he becomes more heroic and the heroes back home start to look more flawed, but I’m pretty sure that is the point of the whole series.

Grade: A-

-Dean Stell

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