Irredeemable Vol. 1
created & written by Mark Waid
illustrated by Peter Krause
Boom Studios (2009)
What if the world's greatest superhero decided to become the world's greatest supervillain?
That's essentially the question posed by Mark Waid in this stark exploration of a Superman-esque hero's fall from grace.
The Plutonian is a clean-cut, All American type of superhero: he can fly, he's strong as all get-out, he shoots radiation beams with his eyes, he can hear a whisper on the other side of the planet--oh, and he'd indestructible. For years, he's protected mankind from the evils of the world, man-made and otherwise, but this story kicks off with him already turned to the dark side with the blood of millions on his hands. And he's has every other superhero on the planet shaking in their boots.
He is blatantly reminiscent of Superman, and I was never a fan of the Man of Steel. I think those hokey cartoons from the sixties and seventies, like The Super Friends, are to blame. So, in a way, seeing the ultimate superhero turned into the most despicable person on Earth strikes a chord with me. I ended up relishing this villainous side to such a goody-goody.
The story is presented as a bit of a mystery though, rather than seeing the Plutonian's heel turn. As the story begins, he's well on his way to destroying the world, one city--and one superhero--at a time. The guy is ruthless. In a game of cat-and-mouse, his former allies have banded together to figure out how to stop them, while also doing what little they can to save their own lives. Meanwhile, the supervillains have banded together, scratching their heads over just what is going on--and trying to save their own necks as well.
It's brutality wrapped up in that golden age style, which makes for an interesting dichotomy. Given these are all newly invented character though, the lack of connection and emotional investment to any of them creates a bit of a road block, but the story does what it can to make you care for them, and fear the Plutonian.
As a guy with only a surface level appreciation for comic books, I'm not familiar with Mark Waid's work, but he comes highly recommended it turns out, and I'm definitely looking for more from him.