It’s the standing of an impressive comic, and hard working creative team, when there are only great and good issues. “Irredeemable” doesn’t do bad issues. That level of consistency is something not many other titles can sustain. This issue is only one of the good issues but there are still a few choice moments to make you stop and appreciate the effort and intellect being put in.
The latest turn of events in this book — the insane asylum break out with a difference — has been a whole bucket of fun. This issue wraps a lot of those threads up and does so quite well. A prison break is a thing of beauty but it cannot go on forever, that much has been learnt from a multitude of cultural touchstones. Mark Waid closes this arc by opening another. There are no resolutions in this book, only segues to something new and exciting.
It’s the little things Waid brings to this book that fascinate the mind and delight the four color page. A character with tachyon hammers for hands can punch so hard he knocks people back in time, and this leads to a, confusing at first, sequence that is the sort of thing comics do really well. There are still new villains, with crazier powers, to populate the landscape, and at the center still stands the Plutonian. He’s the lynchpin to this all. He’s still a character who holds your attention and is hard to define. He’s an enigmatic lead, and the brimstone smell of unpredictable violence permeates every panel in which he stands.
The art between Peter Krause and Diego Berreto is fluid. There’s a difference, sure, but it’s not standing in the way of your enjoyment or the tale. Zac Atkinson colors the science and the powers in a way that highlights them and keeps them exciting. He slips mood into the background of panels and gives each scene its own register in which to play.
“Irredeemable” is a freight train that only wants to smash through barricades and get to a new destination. There’s a through line that is well planned and thought out, but it all feels so spontaneous. Anything could happen in this world and that’s the level of excitement a comic should have. These are super powered individuals, nothing should be rote. Here, we get a great blend of science and fiction to make a universe, and a very large one, come to life. Then it works on slowly being killed off as no one is safe while the Plutonian is still angry and confused.