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With Irredeemable, Mark Waid, took the world’s greatest superhero and made him the world’s worst enemy. With Incorruptible, Waid has taken one of the world’s worst villains and turned him into a boy scout. Max Damage was about to release an airborne super virus that would kill half the planet, just to see if he could feel it, when the Plutonian destroyed Sky City. Now reformed, Max is trying to become the hero the world needs.
This issue wraps up the first story arc, introducing the reader to the world that Max lives in and gives a wider view of what the world truly looks like after the Plutonian’s rampage. Max’s power is that he is nearly indestructible and that his skin becomes harder the longer he’s awake. The side effect is that he’s lost his sense of touch altogether. After watching Sky City fall to the Plutonian he changed his ways. He burned all his stolen money, cars and destroyed his criminal hideout. He doesn’t drink, swear or have sex with teenagers anymore. Enter one Jailbait, an adolescent girl that dresses up in all black and complimentary domino mask. Her name says everything you need to know about her. She hates Max’s new life style but won’t leave his side. It’s a good thing too because she’s the perfect side kick for him. Rounding out Max’s Batman lifestyle is Louis Armadale, a Commissioner Gordon-type that Max uses to round of criminals. Waid uses Max and Armadale relationships to explain the world and develop the character of Max.
Waid (Kingdom Come, Fantastic Four) does a good job of reforming Max to the extremes. Quitting a criminal lifestyle and starting a selfish-less life has consequences that Max hadn’t thought of. For example where do you sleep when you can’t live somewhere paid with stolen money? In Max’s case, he chooses to crash on his now good friend Armadale’s couch. It’s never really said out loud why Armadale puts up with Max and his little girlfriend. It could have something to do with the fact that he has no one and that the world has truly gone to hell. At any rate, the book consistently builds the relationships between the three characters while also delivering action. Even though Max was one of the world’s worst criminals, you really can sympathize with him when things don’t go his way. Max was going to release a virus to kill half the planet and the reader sympathizes with him? That’s good writing.
Jean Diaz (24: Nightfall) has a unique style that compliments the tone and style set for the world in Irredeemable and Boom! Studios. All the compassion that Waid makes you feel for the characters would be easily lost without Diaz’s emphasis on their facial expressions. The world is in ruins, buildings are crumbling, lives are destroyed and that’s something you can see on every page of the book.
The story is not perfect. Waid rests on his laurels of the overall story he has developed between Irredeemable and Incorruptible. The issue is action-heavy, which eats up the page count. It’s a shame because the issue almost ends perfectly; instead, it leaves you wanting one more page to end the story. Diaz is good but not great. AmberJack is often inconsistent and just a poorly designed character in general, making him uninteresting. The series is off to an interesting start but wouldn’t be half as interesting without it tying into Irredeemable. That’s what saves it from being just another anti-hero book.
Overall Score – 7.8/10