Irredeemable #14


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Irredeemable #14


  • Words: Mark Waid
  • Art: Diego Barreto
  • Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 3, 2010

Reading Irredeemable #14 only reaffirms why Mark Waid deserves his three 2010 Eisner Award nominations for Best Writer, Best New Series, and Best Continuing Series.  In the best sense of the word, Irredeemable is a mashup of Waid's creative career, combining his love of the superhero genre with his admiration for personal, introspective, and character-driven stories.  And, just when audiences think they have the Waid equation deciphered, he defies formula and pushes narrative boundaries even further.

Following the shocking revelations about Bette Noir and the Plutonian, as well as the sudden appearances of Scylla, Encanta, and Modeus in issue #13, Irredeemable #14 opens with Orian and the Survivor violently reentering Earth's dimensional plane.  Having arranged some bargain, the two unlikely partners have now joined forces to destroy the Plutonian.  Simultaneously, the military has captured the other Paradigm members and designed special cells to inhibit their powers and abilities to prevent escape; however, Qubit has discovered a way to forge minimal communication lines between the captives.  It's here, in the cells, that Waid spends the majority of the story, centering in on and exploring the past of Irredeemable's resident scorned husband, Gilgamos.

While Waid has focused the majority of character attention on the Plutonian and his relationships with both his teammates and family members, and rightly so, this is really the first time readers see a shift in perspective.  Apart from his age and his archangel appearance, little is known about Gilgamos.  Here, audiences learn that Gil's present silence and deflection of Volt's marital barbs are rooted in a previous prison experience as he once shared a cell with Alexander the Great.  Juxtaposing the past with the present panel by panel, audiences see Gilgamos adapt the lessons of his historic escape alongside Alexander to address is his present incarceration, making an ultimate sacrifice in the process.  Although obviously a highly trained warrior, Gilgamos still had much to learn about tactics and strategy, and his daring present-day escape at the expense of his teammates should reinforce audience appreciation and interest in this character.

In fact, it is not Gilgamos who frees his fellow Paradigm inmates, but Bette Noir in an act of self-redemption for her past crimes.  Reeling at the horror of Gilgamos' escape and recognizing his plan for vengeance with the magical candle wax relic, Paradigm travels to Gil's house in the hopes of diverting him from what they believe is a suicide mission against the Plutonian.  Once again though, his teammates have underestimated him.  Applying the lessons of Alexander, Gilgamos has already arranged for muscle and backup in his quest.   The issue ends with yet another cliffhanger moment as Gilgamos and his new band of cohorts confront a Modeus-controlled Samsara and witness the Plutonian's angry descent from above.  Who will assist Gilgamos and who will oppose him?  Ongoing fans and trade waiters will not want to miss this installment.

This issue also represents the second solo-artwork of series newcomer Diego Barreto after having shared the duties with Peter Krause.  It is a true compliment to a succeeding artistic team that the transition between artists and styles is so seamless and smooth as it is in Irredeemable.  Although Barreto has a distinctive style and is by no means a copycat of Krause, the similarities in their approaches to the characters and the stories are exemplary and do great justice to the series.  The brutality and intensity of the opening sequence as Orian and the Survivor return is but one example of the emotion and detail Barreto brings to the table.

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