By: Mark Waid (writer/creator), Peter Krause (artist), Zac Atkinson & Nolan Woodard (colorists), Ed Dukeshire (letterer) & Matt Gagnon

The Story: Plutonian is back on Earth.  That means bad things are gonna happen.

What’s Good: He’s back!  And it was pretty powerful to get a reminder of what an insanely evil badass Plutonian is.  This series started in the aftermath of the Plutonian’s original destruction and along we way, we have seen snippets of this rampage in flashbacks, but we’ve never really seen his wrath in real-time.  Not only does this destruction make for a very dramatic series of scenes, but you really feel for the common people because they thought they were safe.  They just needed to clean up and somehow pull their lives back together, but now they’re getting punched in the guts again.  The thought that came to my mind while reading was of how after New Orleans was reeling from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, they got hit again by Hurricane Rita.  Misery loves company, I guess.

Of course, this story hasn’t been running place just waiting for the Plutonian to come back.  Earth’s heroes led by the Survivor have created a new version of the superhero team called the Paradigm.  And, we’ve seen for the last year how Survivor may or may not be very mentally stable.  Plutonian has a newly formed team of insane villains too.  This issue gives us an interesting beginning to questions like, “Can the new Paradigm beat Plutonian?” and “Can Survivor hack it?”

But, the thing that really makes Irredeemable so much fun to read is that you don’t know what is going to happen.  This series is really at a sweet spot.  We’ve seen enough issues that there is a lot of meat on the bone from a story telling standpoint, but the characters aren’t so established that you think you know the ending.  When you’re reading a story about Superman and Lex Luthor, you know that Superman will win.  That’s just how it is.  But with Irredeemable, the series could end with issue ~#35 with Plutonian having killed everyone on Earth — or — it could still be plugging along at issue #100 continuing to explore the corrupting nature of true power.  We just don’t know and that is a rare thing in comics these days.

Peter Krause continues to remind us why we’ll miss him so much when he leaves this series.  His work is just very understated excellence and it has been fun to watch him grow as the series has moved along.  Since moving to a style that uses more brushes than pens a while back, his characters not only have outstanding anatomy and musculature, but they’re alive now as well (in a way that the pen work couldn’t quite approach).  His storytelling is also spot-on enough that he could really work in the method where he illustrates the story and allows a scripter to come along after and add word balloons.

I wish I understood coloring better because there is something very unique about the coloring in Irredeemable that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Somehow they are able to get the blues of the Survivor’s uniform and the reds of the Plutonian’s uniform to pop in a very unusual way.  I just sit here looking at these striking colors and can’t figure out why I think they’re more interesting than most comics I read.

What’s Not Quite As Good: No real complaints on this issue.  It didn’t quite have any of the Irredeemable “moments” that have put some previous issues over the top (like when Plutonian skinned a character off-panel to make a new costume) and that holds it back from the highest grades.

Conclusion: A very strong issue.  The initial Plutonian rampage that the series began with came out of the blue.  Now we’ll see what happens when the Earth’s heroes are somewhat prepared for him.

Grade: B

– Dean Stell

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