Today we give you a double shot of Graphic Novel goodness with two reviews of Mark Waid’s 2 great ongoing series.
Stand alone or series: Volume 3 of ongoing series, which collect issues 9-12
The hunt for Modeus may be over but ultimate chaos is still at hand. With the Plutonian still on the loose, The Paradigm find themselves with little time and less options. Have the Paradigm unleashed something they cannot control? Collects issues #9-12 of Mark Waid’s superhero epic.
How did I get this book: Bought
Why did I read this book: I LOVE this series since discovering it early this year.
Art: Peter Krause
I fell head over heels in love with Irredeemable after reading Volume 1, a feeling that only grew considerably with the incredible second volume. The premise of this series is one that appeals to me as a reader and reading about the fear felt, the terror spread when the world’s greatest superhero turns its greatest villain has been a great journey. Especially because the premise is based on the idea that a super being is necessarily equipped with the right psyche to be a super hero.
Needless to say, I had been waiting anxiously for this third volume to finally arrive in the UK. Weeks I have waited with bated breath for this and when it finally landed on my doorstep two days ago, I whooped. Having finally read it, I can say now:
damn, baby, the honeymoon is over.
In this volume, we learn more about Tony/The Plutonian’s childhood and about how The Paradigm, the group of superheroes led by him only recently came to be together. We get to learn more about the other supes, as well as being introduced to a new character, brought forth by the Government in an attempt to stop the Plutonian, since the Paradigm doesn’t seem to be doing that much. And then, there is Cary, the guy who beat the Plutonian to a pulp and who seems to be getting way creepy. But not as creepy as finally figuring out exactly where Modeus – his arch-enemy – has been hiding.
In other words: same old, same old. The feeling that I had after reading this volume was: is that all? Nothing REALLY happens. It is still pretty much set up for something. Don’t get me wrong, it is great set up, and all the small cliff-hangers at the end of each issue were awesome. But there is nothing very new anymore and I really need this series to get moving.
Furthermore, a few things downright bothered me. 1) This new guy who the government has brought forth to capture Tony: he is an alien demon hunter. An alien. All of a sudden, I am no longer reading a super-hero exclusive club. I need to take into consideration other dimensions, and planets too . This is not a problem per se, if done well but it threw me off a bit as it was unexpected (although perhaps it shouldn’t have been) and I will wait and see further developments.
2) Bette Noir. I hate having to be this kind of reviewer/reader who always brings this up, but what is up with the only female member of the group being all about the men of the group? She is married to Gilgamos and at one point her entire arc is about how bad she feels for loving him but cheating on him with the Plutonian. It doesn’t help that there is a super build up to reveal how she has the power to destroy the Plutonian and her Super!Big!Sekrit! turned out to be lame and contrived and all about sexy times with the guy. Seriously now.
Bette Noir: Don’t mind me. Despite my cool name, power and outfit I am only really here so that the male characters can fight about who is better in bed
And finally 3) I am underwhelmed by how Cary is turning out to be another….Plutonian. We find out that he is extremely powerful after his twin dies, and he is able to almost defeat The Plutonian. But the power is going to his head and it only serves to demonstrate in a very aggressive way that absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the thing is, when you make it so every single time, you make it about power and not about people. That maxim is about a tendency not a certainty and by making Cary follow basically the same path and The Plutonian, it makes it less personal, less about the characters and it sort of diminishes the impact of any revelation about the characters’ past.
So yeah, the honeymoon is over but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Now the real thing starts, past the infatuation towards a stable relationship. In spite the aforementioned issues, I still very much enjoyed this volume and I have high hopes that the story will pick up. I mean, as far as I can see, maybe the Plutonian was NEVER EVER superhero material.
Rating:7 – Very Good
Stand alone or series: Volume 1 of ongoing series, which collect issues 1-4
Super villain Max Damage had an epiphany the day The Plutonian destroyed Sky City. When The Plutonian turned his back on humanity, Max Damage decided to step up. Now Max Damage has changed his name to Max Daring and turned from his formerly selfish ways to become… INCORRUPTIBLE.
How did I get this book: Bought
Why did I read this book: After discovering Irredeemable, I just had to give Incorruptible a go since they are both set in the same world and happen at the same time.
Art: Jean Diaz
As soon as I finished reading Irredeemable Vol.3, I picked up Incorruptible Vol 1 and I think I liked it a bit more that I liked the former Incorruptible is a spin-off , set in the same world and timeline as Irredeemable, in which Max Damage, one of the world’s greatest villains has an epiphany after seeing The Plutonian going on a rampage and decides to become a hero.
Max is super strong and invulnerable, nothing can piece his skin. There is a cool twist: his power or ability increases the long he is awake – he is the most vulnerable as he awakes and in that one hour window he can touch, smell, and taste but these three senses disappear as the hours go by. He used to hang with his gang of criminals and his partner (and lover) is a 16 year old girl aptly named Jailbait. After witnessing the horrible things that The Plutonian has done, Max turns a new leaf, gets clean, decides he can’t have sex with Jailbait until she is legal and proceeds to become what he feels the world needs right now.
What has possessed him to believe he can do it, I do not know. Basically, Max is like, the anti-Plutonian. But no, not really. He may be Incorruptible now but he has done some pretty shitty things in his time. In that sense, if we think that The Plutonian is irredeemable surely Max should be too. Because if Max can have a second chance, then well, so can The Plutonian right? Say one day he decides he no longer feels like being a supervillain and see the errors of his ways, wouldn’t he be worthy of redemption too?
Redemption: is it merely by making decision that we get it? Yes, Max is acting like a hero (more of a vigilante variety) but are these actions enough? Furthermore, who gets to decide what the general populace needs? That sounds pretty patronising to me. But it also points to a certain humanisation of a villain. Perhaps who needs to be saved is Max himself and the change he undergoes is his and his alone. This is a man who is damaged but who also shows little remorse about the things he did in the past – at least for now. In any case, inasmuch as I felt that Tony was never meant to be a hero in the first place, perhaps Max Damage was never meant to be a villain. Only time will tell.
What I love about both these series are these questions that I get to ask when reading them. I believe they both work together really well too and I love the artwork by both Peter Krause and Jean Diaz. Recommended.
Rating:7 – Very Good
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