Overview

Irredeemable #37

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Irredeemable #37

Credits

  • Words: Mark Waid
  • Art: Diego Barreto
  • Colors: Nolan Woodard
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 28, 2012

Facing the end of the Earth, the Plutonian can either watch the world burn or inspire a new generation of heroes and Waid and Barreto quickly wrap up their universe.

For a little over three years, Mark Waid has brought us the story of the Plutonian, a Superman-inspired superhero who takes a dark path towards abusing his superpowers, theoretically in the name of love. It's been an interesting story, basically showing what Superman could do in a world not confined by continuity or expectations. It's the end of the road; does Waid wrap things up successfully?

Purely a plotting issue, but the final scene will definitely rub readers the wrong way. With Plutonian having spent his mortal life to save humanity, he's been dispersed as "essence" throughout time and space, hopefully to inspire others and put them on the right path, one he largely diverged from. Naturally, this means that he has to end up inspiring a certain pair of (overtly stereotyped) Jewish boys named Siegel and Shuster. It's heavy handed, it's shoehorned in, and it doesn't tie up the loose ends of everyone. It's a tangential ending, and it feels as if Waid missed a few issues to get to this point (setting up that concepts can transcend time and space or something would have done better than introducing the note pages before the end), and ending a 37-issue series (complete with companion series) with the concept that the character, who by and large was a pastiche or parody of Superman, in turn inspires the character, seems to be rather tossed in.

The 2000s H.E.R.O. series had a great ending; rushed to completion, it showed that the H.E.R.O. dial had traveled back in time (to a caveman featured a dozen or so issues beforehand), and set the book on a complete loop. In comparison, the thematic notion (a present superhero inspires or starts a previously established one) is redundant, and history has shown it can be done well, but this just stumbles down the path.

Barreto's art, colored by Woodard, can't be held at fault; thriving throughout most of the book. Waid's script can't be held at fault either; characters are strongly defined even at this late stage, with minimal pages devoted to the supporting cast. It's the plot that's crushed into a too-tight timespan that makes the book limp to the finish line, instead of burst. A double-sized issue, an annual, or two or three more singles would have done well expanding the story, even if the end result would have been inspiring Superman. It will go down like the final page of Wanted: was it necessary? Fans will debate it until the next dark, superhero-inspired book comes around that replaces it in our minds.

Irredeemable was a decent book. It was never amazing, but it was a good diversion from the traditional "spandex and capes" crew. A weak ending sums everything up; it's not a perfect series by any means, but is an enjoyable read.

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