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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Trade Tales! - Irredeemable Volume 1

“Mark Waid is Evil”... well, it has to be someone. I guess Joe Quesada, Dan Didio, Victor Von Doom, Satan, Random McRandomson, and Big McLargeHuge were already taken up by other people.

The final (sort of…) bad boy on the list is another one that I’ve only gotten into recently. It’s weird and maybe even sad because this one didn’t start out that way. In 2009, writer Mark Waid got with Boom! Studios to produce a comic about the world’s greatest hero becoming a villain. Irredeemable was its name and the hero/villain went by the name of the Plutonian. I never really had much interest in reading this mostly because I didn’t know who Boom! Studios was. Also, my wallet tends to do the talking. I did hear about how good the series was. When I decided to do this month, I searched for the first volume and got it for pretty cheap.

Mark Waid, a guy who should have been on a regular Superman book at one point in DC’s history, is the writer. The art is provided by Peter Krause. I have been exposed to some of his work before this and I’ve even talked about it here. He did some fill-in issues on The Adventures of Superman in the 1990’s. I remember not liking some of his artwork there too. I might not say the same about this now though. Ed Dirkshire did lettering and Andrew Dalhouse did the colors. So, let’s see what happens as a hero decides go all Anakin Skywalker/Hal Jordan/ insert any other hero that has gone bad.

Irredeemable: Volume 1
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Peter Krause
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Matt Gangon

SYNOPSIS
We start the story with a hero (The Hornet) and his family getting brutally murdered by the Plutonian. We then meet the Paradigm, this world’s superhero team, as they question Samsara, the Plutonian’s sidekick. They’re basically trying to find out why he’s gone bad. We find out that things aren’t as they seem when we see that Samsara is actually dead and Qubit (a tech wizard and team leader) is accessing what’s left of his memory. After Qubit creates the team devices that will aid them in this impossible mission of stopping the Plutonian, the Plutonian comes to attack them. Luckily, they’re able to teleport out of there.
The haircut from Hell. Also, is that Hawk from Spenser: For Hire in the back? Cool!

We then center on Kaiden, one of the Paradigm. Qubit has dispatched the members to learn anything to aid their cause.  She has found Alana Patel, the Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend, in the remains of Sky City which the Plutonian utterly decimated. She tells Kaiden about their fun times as well as about how they horribly ended things. When the Plutonian revealed that he was also Dan Hartigan, a co-worker of hers, she freaks out and tells her co-workers. He didn’t react to well to it, but it’s not what made him evil. After that incident, he abandoned the secret ID and left Alana. Kaiden relates all of the info to Qubit who is apparently using robotic duplicates of the Plutonian’s arch-nemesis, Modeus, to find the villain. She actually questions him about the robots later on.
Hmm... would say something about DC's recent decisions with Superman, but nah!

After a weird scene involving the Plutonian forcing two folk to have sex (I don’t know), we then catch up with two other members, Scylla and Charyidbus. They’re twin brothers with matching powers. Qubit has sent them to an abandoned prison where the secret lair of Inferno, another dead hero, is located. It turns out they aren’t the only ones there. The Plutonian’s villains have made camp there and are about to take some stuff when the Plutonian just strolls in. He tells them that he’ll leave them alone if they don’t use some device. They use the devices which were actually self-destruct bombs. The whole complex blows up and kills most of the villains, injures Charyibdus, and kills Scylla. Plutonian takes the only surviving villain (Enchanta) with him.
Wow... these nameless villains really are idiots!

Qubit patches up Charybdis and handles Scylla’s remains. Gilgamos and another member question Qubit about the robots as well. At the United Nations, delegates are basically trying to figure out this situation when the Plutonian comes and interrupts them. He asks the Singapore delegate about him and the delegate lies about his country being grateful for him. This leads the Plutonian to… stone the island’s center with diamonds from space and then sink it. Qubit, Gilgamos, and that other member (she gets no name here) teleport to help stop this but they are only able to save a few. The story ends with the Plutonian sinking Singapore and Qubit wondering where Modeus is.


OPINION
Huh… so this crazy son of a monkey’s uncle sinks an island by using diamonds? You definitely won’t see that in a Superman comic… unless DC runs out of more ideas. Anyway, this was a good intro to this series. While I do have a couple of small nitpicks about it, this first volume is really good. It basically takes the premise of Superman turning evil and runs with it. This isn’t a hero who’s decided to break his rules and use his powers to achieve peace by any means necessary. This is a sadistic, psychotic, nutjob who apparently cares for no one but himself.

The writing is pretty good. While there is a foreboding sense of fear and dread, you do get some lighter moments. Through some flashbacks, we get to see who the Plutonian was before he went evil. We see he was well-liked and that he himself seemed good. We kind of see what would happen if certain things in Superman’s life went a darker path. We see this in the Plutonian’s proposal to Alana. I also liked the Paradigm especially Kaiden and Qubit. Qubit really reminded me of the Doctor from Doctor Who for some reason.
Definitely a moment to say a lot of expletives.

The artwork was really good. It all felt concise from issue to issue. The action was pretty good and the quiet moments were nice. I like the looks for everyone. I especially liked the Plutonian’s costumes and how Krause had our villain/hero look in the flashbacks and the present day. Even when there is some horrific stuff going on, it’s not really bloody and that’s kind of nice. I actually don’t have any qualms about the art this time. It’s all good.

I did have a couple of nitpicks with the overall thing though. Why is the trade only four issues long? I guess this is what Boom! Studios does their trades but it feels a little cheap. I also thought that we should have gotten a little more info on the other members of the Paradigm. We only get the basics with Kaiden, Qubit, and the twins. The others are left out and I don’t even think the other female on the team is named. Now, I will say that the others do get some background in the next volume, but it would have been nice to have it here. Also, what was up with Plutonian leering on two people getting it on?

Overall, this was a nice surprise. I didn’t know what to expect with this trade. After I finished it, I tracked down the second volume and I gotta see how this all ends. The series is 37 issues in total, so it looks like I got something to read. If you’re looking for something that is a bit different and dark, then check it out. Well, it’s time to look at something lighter. I need to get rid of all the darkness with something. Peace, God Bless, and don’t tick off guys with heat vision.


NEXT TIME: CAPTAIN MARVEL… NO, I’M NOT CALLING HIM SHAZAM IN THIS ONE!

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