March 19, 2011

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Irredeemable Volume 3

Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Peter Krause and Diego Barreto
Boom! Studios

The Plutonian is on the run, and his refuge may be worse than the foe he's hiding from as Mark Waid's dark epic continues. The remnants of the Paradigm seem to have the day in hand, but with all semblance of order gone, can they keep their squabbles together long enough to save the day? Meanwhile, there's still the US Military to consider. Can anyone possibly win in a world gone this bad, where it seems like none of the possible victors are on the side of the angels? Is this whole universe...Irredeemable?

I don't have a lot to say about this trade, as it mostly serves to show that of the remaining power factions, none have the upper hand right now, and the control is shifting constantly among people who are about the last ones you'd want running the show--which is of course Waid's point. Two new players make their play for control, and it's clear that the Paradigm isn't going to be able to save the world, as if we didn't suspect that in the first place.

Of note here is that Waid ups the level of violence a bit, which is okay but I feel like he's treading a dangerous line. I liked the restrained horror of the first two trades better. Krause's depictions are as excellent as ever, trying not to be too exploitative of the gory details.

The best scene in the book is where the Plutonian explains a tragedy of his youth, adding to the evidence that this "man" was never going to be able to hold it together his entire life. It's a nice new wrinkle on the "evil of guns" riff that we often see in superhero comics, showing that yet again, Waid can work with the familiar and yet have it feel fresh. This is followed by another piece of Plutonian past coming back into the picture, in a nice bit of quiet terror. Imagine spending your life in fear of the most powerful being in the world! While I of course hate the cruelty of the Plutonian's actions, the ingenious nature of his revenge shows just how good Mark Waid is as a writer. We need to start giving this man his due.

Irredeemable is a great series, and though this was more setup than story, Waid still keeps things moving, with the able aid of Krause's artwork. I can't wait to see where things go next. If you are an adult fan of superhero comic books, you really need to read Irredeemable. This is what an adult comic book should look like. Start with volume one, of course, and I'm willing to bet you'll be coming back for more.