Wouldn't want to get on his bad side
by Mark Waid and Peter Krause
Published by BOOM! Studios
For those keeping track, I traditionally only review books that came out that week, and yes, Irredeemable #1 came out last week. Due to UPS delays, I only got my copy yesterday. After reading it, I knew I would have to violate the convention that I had established for myself to share with all of you loyal and/or new and/or hate-me-but-still-read readers. It's the latest offering from fledgling publisher, BOOM! Studios. Don't let that fool you, though. They came on the scene with a stable of well-established writers, including Dan Abnett, Ian Edginton, Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, and Mark Waid, whom they appointed EIC in 2007.
Even the general populace (ie, those not submerged in comic book culture) are aware of Waid. He wrote the 1996 hit, Kingdom Come, which admittedly is probably more well-known for Alex Ross' art than Waid's writing. Those who actually read it, though, know exactly how awesome Waid can be. That story was epic, and I don't use that term in the way it's meant today - to describe even mediocre levels of awesome. No, I mean epic in the real sense of grand scale, relevant issues, reviving floundering characters, huge battles, provocative (add in about 10 more positive adjectives here), storytelling. And, IMHO, he's only gotten better since. I was explaining to Havok just this morning that Waid isn't in my top 5 comic writers, but he definitely falls in my top 10.
Since I mention that, some people might ask what that list looks like. In no particular order: Brian Michael Bendis (Powers), Mark Waid (this book), Grant Morrison (sometimes), Warren Ellis (Marvel and Avatar stuff), Geoff Johns (Green Lantern), Ed Brubaker (Daredevil, Captain America), Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible), Garth Ennis (Preacher, Back to Brooklyn), Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders), Brian K. Vaughan (LOST has gotten so awesome since he came on).
But, uh, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected, so I'm a let 'em understand. From a young... oh, sorry.
So what is Irredeemable about? Basically, take your Superman-type iconic character, and turn him rogue. That's very much an over-simplification, as that story has been told (and told well) before. This book explores what might push a hero to the opposite extreme. Think of it - when you check out Youtube/Twitter/pretty much every message board on the intarwebs, there's trolls on there that just love to spew hate. On J!NX, we try to encourage a strong sense of community and acceptance of each other, but we still come across that occasional guy who just wants to nitpick every little thing in the photo you sent in. Imagine that on a global scale where you can actually hear everything that everyone ever says about you. You spend damn near every waking hour trying to save people from volcanoes and villains and floods and riots for no pay and someone still has the gall to call you a "flippin' underwear pervert." On a smaller scale, it's somewhat easy enough to just be water-off-a-duck's-back about it. It's easy to say, "that's one lame loser on the anonymous internet." But when you cover the whole planet, there are so many more people criticizing. I'm sure that can get to a guy.
Waid writes a few words about it in the after-afterword (the first afterword is written by Grant Morrison). "No one simply turns 'evil' one day. Villainy isn't a light switch. The road to darkness is filled with moments of betrayal, loss, of disappointment... What became of the hope and promise once inside him? What happens to the world when its savior betrays it?" Gotdamn if that doesn't have me sold right there. For people who migh shy away from the book thinking "I hate when people destroy my beloved characters a la Watchmen," don't worry about that. Mark Waid loves Superman even more than me, and that's saying quite a bit. If you were gonna trust anyone to do a story like this right, It's Waid.
This first issue comes out swinging, so you don't have to sit through 22 pages of setup and then wait a month for any real action. There's already a strong sense of tension and a strong need to learn what pushed this guy over the edge. In fact, this issue was so good, I reviewed it instead of my originally-planned Ignition City #1, also a book I recommend picking up.
Who should read this book:
People who liked DC's Kingdom Come.
People who liked good guys turned bad.
People who can do every special move in Street Fighter IV.
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