By: Mark Waid (writer/creator), Marcio Takara (artist), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer) & Matt Gagnon (editor)

The Story: Urban planning continues in Coalville.  Max is building something and a new villain shows up.

Review: This comic is well-written and pleasant to read, but it just lacks that zap that makes Irredeemable (its sister-title) a real treasure.  Whereas Irredeemable has global import with the Plutonian ravaging Earth and people dying by the thousands… Incorruptible just doesn’t have that same hook or scope.  Perhaps that is an issue with me wanting this comic to be one thing and Mark Waid just writing another, but I put down every issue of this and think, “Sheesh!  The stakes sure are small in this comic.”

The comic does feature a good story of redemption.  Max Damage could be seen like a recovering addict and if we were ever to forget that concept, pairing Max with Detective Armdale (who is a recovering alcoholic) reminds us.  Recovering addicts do weird things in their personal journeys to redemption because even though their friends want them to make amends for their lousy behavior, they can’t do that until they’ve made themselves healthy.  So, I do understand why it makes sense for Max to fixate on the salvation of Coalville, but at the same time, it doesn’t make for the most interesting comic to read.  It does make Incorruptible a fairly unique comic offering though and that’s to be applauded since I don’t think it makes any sense for a smaller publisher like Boom! to publish “normal” superhero stories that we could get at DC or Marvel.

On the bright side, a new young heroine enters the picture.  She has a catchy name: “Hate Crime” (as in she hates crime).  I find Max incredibly more interesting when he has a young and naive character to play off of.  Much like Batman and Wolverine, we can see his humanity more easily when he is helping someone else on a personal level.  On his own, Max becomes a little too grim and brooding.  And….I’d still like to see Jailbait come back because I think Waid could do all kinds of fun stuff with a Jailbait who has turned 18: She could come back and say, “I hate you for what you did to me and now I’ll use all your secrets against you!” or “Hey baby, now I’m legal!” or a mixture of the two.

Marcio Takara has really stabilized this title since coming on board.  His linework is very attractive and slightly on the cartooning side of the spectrum, but not strongly so.  He also has a nice sense of sequential storytelling and keeps his panels and pages visually interesting.  This really isn’t a very easy comic to draw either as Waid is hitting him with all sorts of different character types from nubile women to hulking/armored villains to buildings, etc.  The art comes out a little on the soft side and works better for the nubile women side of the art than it does for the architecture.  But, the art is loads better than what we used to get on Incorruptible.

Conclusion: Not a bad comic, it just needs a little more “snap” to it.  On the other hand, it is telling a very deep tale of personal redemption and that isn’t something that makes it into many superhero comics these days (at least not this nicely handled).  Even when this series has an “average” issue (like this one), it has tons of room to move up in future issues.

Grade: C

-Dean Stell

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