“Incorruptible” is recovering from the effects of the last issue, and a deep breath and pause is exactly what is needed. While this is what Max Damage would surely want, his hometown (Coalville) has other ideas for him. Mark Waid obviously doesn’t want to stop with this series, each action is only as interesting as how it flows into the next part. The narrative of this title lost brakes a long time ago and there is a steep downhill slope in front of it.
Max’s schtick is that he’s a reformed bad guy who only wants justice now. That doesn’t mean he knows how to be squeaky clean, so his methods are often devious and not what anyone expects. This is a comic where the superhero doesn’t know how to be good, but he knows how to get results. The end product makes you realize how easy some things could be if you went about them differently. This is the skewed version of heroism that often also feels more real.
The central conflict of this issue is the ownership of the Coalville power plant. A bad guy wants it and now the authorities feel safe enough (after Max’s heroics of the previous issue) to come back in and set up shop a little on Max’s home turf. It’s a great set up and yet feels too flippant in areas. Surely owning a power plant isn’t just as easy as punching some people in the face in front of it and staking your claim. Who is running the plant, what are the specificities, and if it’s this easy then why aren’t more people doing it? It’s a small nit to pick but it’s one that also jumps off the page.
Max Damage continues to prove himself one of the most intriguing characters in print today. His actions matched against his desired outcomes and his past incidents make for one captivating man. This title is really just an exercise in seeing what happens to Max over time and in that regard is a complete success. The lead man is the reason to turn up every month and he delivers in spades.
Marcio Takara manages to be less detailed and yet still effectively expressive in the art on the page. The flowing pencil lines that remain on the page are engaging and easily followed. Nolan Woodard’s colors bring out the best of the best pages. Many choices from the art team seem simple and yet there is a deep complexity to the subtleties. Colors chosen, details on faces: these are the little bricks that build that house Max Damage lives in.
“Incorruptible” remains one of the most consistently enjoyable books on the stands. The lonesome ballad of Max Damage is a tale worthy both on the macro and micro scales. This issue is the sort of one-shot style tale that bridges the divide from one status quo to the next. There’s enough here to sink your teeth into but it most certainly will leave you wanting more.