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On The Side of Angels: Mark Waid Talks Incorruptible

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BOOM! Studios has a smash hit on its hands with Mark Waid’s IRREDEEMABLE, the tale of a superhero gone bad. So one might expect it would only be a matter of time before they capitalized on its success by expanding that world to other titles.

INCORRUPTIBLE, a new ongoing title by Mark Waid and artist Jean Diaz, does expand IRREDEEMABLE’s world, but it isn’t some superfluous addition. Instead, INCORRUPTIBLE will show the flipside of the IRREDEEMABLE story; what happens when a hardcore supervillain becomes determined to walk the path of heroism? Broken Frontier caught up with Waid to discuss the new series, the ideas behind it, and what’s ahead.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Tell us, when did the idea of INCORRUPTIBLE, as a counterpart to IRREDEEMABLE, first occur to you?

MARK WAID: The first time I realized that, as fun and as worthwhile as it is writing IRREDEEMABLE, the way that book is structured there's not much chance to show the street-level consequences of the Plutonian's actions. IRREDEEMABLE is about demigods waging war on a god on our behalf. I needed a companion book that would let us see the conflict through human eyes.

BF: Who is Max Damage?

MW: Max Damage was, before Plutonian flipped, the world's most wanted supervillain. Not a whole lot is known about him by the general public other than that his very presence can make the bravest of men wet their pants. Now he's had an epiphany, described in issue one, and he's changed his name to Max Daring and has set out on the road to heroism. Let's hope it takes.

BF: Like "irredeemable", "incorruptible" is an adjective that implies an extreme position. We know that Max is inspired to heroism in response to The Plutonian's villainy, but what makes him go so far the other way?

MW: The fact that there's no instruction manual for superheroism. He's coming at it not from some lifelong inspiration. He's attacking the question of "what would a superhero do?" primarily by doing the opposite of whatever his instincts tell him.

BF: Is it more difficult to wring drama out of a villain playing it straight then a good guy turning evil?

MW: It's a little more difficult--but it's less difficult to wring humor out of it, so it's a wash. Not that INCORRUPTIBLE's a humorous book, far from it--but it does lend itself a little more to moments of wry surprise.

BF: How did artist Jean Diaz become attached to the book?

MW: Editor Matt Gagnon found him. Jean's one of the guys who tried out for IRREDEEMABLE, honestly, and while we loved his pages, he wasn't 100% what we were looking for on that series--but we knew then and there we wanted him at BOOM! and soon realized be perfect for the companion series.

BF: Do you have any plans for a crossover between the two books?

MW: I do. Not too soon--Max has some planning to do first--but eventually, yes.

BF: What makes this a book that both fans of IRREDEEMABLE, and those who are new to this world, will want to pick up?

MW: If you're interested in the deconstruction of the supervillain tropes--if you want to see a villain have to build a moral code from scratch--or if you just want to find out how a lowlife like Max can possibly pass up his chance to bed down a hot sidekick named Jailbait--this book is for you.

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