Irredeemable #1


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Irredeemable #1


  • Words: Mark Waid
  • Art: Peter Krause
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 17, 2009

What happens when the most powerful superhero starts hunting his fellow heroes? How to you stop the unstoppable?

For all that writer Mark Waid has a knack for understanding and highlighting the best in heroic characters, he also has an unsung talent for playing in the dark corners of fictional universes as well. With his creator owned mini-series Empire he took readers to a place where a supervillain had conquered the world and ruled with an iron fist. With Irredeemable he takes readers to a place where it is the hero who has become the world’s worst nightmare.

The superhero known as the Plutonian has seemingly snapped – going on a vendetta to destroy all the world’s superheroes. As the heroes go into hiding one small group realizes they actually know very little about the man they called their friend and teammate. Now they have to find out everything they can in order to defeat the Plutonian. It’s a race against double time as they must find the Plutonian’s past before he erases it… and before he erases them.

With a tight comic book market growing ever tighter there is a push to do something "new", something "different" to catch readers’ attention. As such, the superhero ideal has been twisted and bent, satirized and parodied, looked at through a microscope and taken to a macro level as well. With Irredeemable Waid simply flips the concept on its head. A simple matter and an elegant idea but it all hinges on the execution. Here that execution is nearly flawless. Waid creates some recognizable archetypes for his heroic characters but he is still battling against the fact that these are wholly new characters which readers are meeting for the first time and therefore it is difficult to get fully invested in their fates. Considering Waid’s talents with characterization, however, I’m willing to bet that by the next issue readers will be given more background on these characters, more information about this battle they find themselves in and more information about their enemy as well.

Waid has also done an excellent job at tapping into an idea with immense ramifications – how does one stop a seemingly unstoppable hero? What could have caused someone who is supposed to represent the ideal of heroism to become the antithesis of that? If human beings have no limit to the cruelty they can inflict then what happens when a being of unlimited cruelty also has unlimited power? Theoretically, Waid could continue this series for years using these heroes and villains to explore ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, darkness and light…

Artist Peter Krause has been tapped for the series. As an experienced and solid illustrator it seems a shame he has not managed to really break through into the big time before this. Almost certainly Irredeemable will bring him some much deserved attention. Krause’s work is clean and fresh-looking yet does not pull any punches depicting the triumphs and horrors of the Plutonian’s powers. Most importantly, he manages to design all of these new heroes with iconic-looking costumes and appearances while at the same time making them look unique and different from any hero who has gone before. He plays with light and shadow well and never allows either to overwhelm the story.

Boom! Studios has been hitting home runs with many of their titles lately and Irredeemable is set to join those ranks. While the story takes a bit of getting into with this first issue Waid is poised to keep ramping up the tension and the stakes. By playing in his own sandbox here he is free to take the story in any direction. Anything can happen, no one is safe and that makes the story all the more thrilling. If you want something different, something edgy and shadowed but without the tired old "grim and gritty for grim and gritty’s sake" then pick up Irredeemable… you’ll believe a superhero can be evil.

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