By: Mark Waid (writer), Eduardo Barreto & Diego Barreto (art), Zac Atkinson (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters), Shannon Watters (assistant editor) & Matt Gagnon (editor)

The Story: Plutonian is back on Earth and the heroes and nations thereof have to rally to its defense.

What’s Good: As much as I enjoyed the 5-6 issue stint where Plutonian got kidnapped by aliens and sent to a galactic institue for the criminally insane, I kinda missed our original cast of characters.  During that time, we got the see Quibit and got brief snippets of Kaiden, but what happened to Bette Noir and that dude with the wings?

Well, this issue features a big comeback by the original members of the Paradigm superhero team.  That’s much appreciated because us readers spent the first ~15 issues reading nothing but this team’s struggle to fight the Plutonian.  They had all become interesting characters and then – Poof! – they were shuffled off-screen.  It was especially troubling with a character like Kaiden because we had just really learned the depths of her power.  Early on, we’d seen her summoning spirit forms of Japanese folklore characters to fight her battles, but we learned later that she could summon anyone who was dead.  I remember that being quite a revelation and thinking, “Wow!  So, all these dead guys like the Batman-guy and the black dude with lightning powers can come back and fight now!  They might be more useful in death than in life!”, so it’s great to have the team back together.

The reappearance of Bette also bodes well for the future as I suspect that it will lead to kinky and duplicitous behavior with the Plutonian.  There’s a sense of anticipation every time Bette is on the page because you never quite know what you’re going to get with her.

While I do miss Peter Krause and this book is losing something without his artwork, this comic looks fine from a linework standpoint.  There’s nothing blowing me away, but everything is just very solid and professional: you can tell who the characters are, everyone is accurately drawn, the action is clear, etc.  Sequential art should be about telling the story and not doing a fancy splash page and Irredeemable never goes in for artistic flourishes as the expense of story.

What’s not so good: Not much.  I guess this issue was more about anticipating what I hope/think is coming than having a lot of intrinsic meat on the bone.  So there’s that…  There is also a subplot with the humans of the Earth having some scheme to stop the Plutonian, but I just don’t care.  Perhaps I should give Waid more credit because the last time the humans had a plan, it resulted in that weird demon-hunter dude, Orian.  That was pretty cool.  But, if the plan is going to be nuclear bombs or something like that I’d rather just watch the superpowered beings fight.

Conclusion: Yeah!  The band is getting back together.  If you were wondering what happened to all those cool and flawed characters of the Paradigm, look no further.  They’re back and that bodes well for future stories.  It really is amazing how this series has grown legs for the long term after starting as “Superman turns evil”.

Grade: B-

– Dean Stell

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