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Irredeemable is Incredible,
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This review is from: Irredeemable, Volume 1 (Paperback)
The sub-genre of superhero fiction where superheroes, or usually a Superman-type character, goes off the rails is unusually fertile ground for comics writers. Alan Moore's "Watchmen", Garth Ennis' "The Boys" and Mark Millar's "Superman: Red Son" have all explored an alternative to the heroic figures presented to us in comics and all are exceptional works of art. Added to this field of subversive superhero stories is Mark Waid's "Irredeemable" which posits the idea of a Superman-type superhero called the Plutonian who becomes disenchanted with humanity after years of saving them from themselves. He slowly becomes bitter and hateful with the way they view and treat him to the point where he goes from hero to villain over the course of several years.
This idea of superheroes acting as tyrant leaders to humanity has been explored in superhero comics as diverse as Warren Ellis' "The Authority" and more recently in the hugely popular series "The Boys" by Garth Ennis. But with Waid's Plutonian, the tone of the book is far less bombastic than Ennis' work and much more tragic. Waid writes the story like a character study with friends and colleagues from the Plutonian's past revealing glimpses of the man he used to be while in the present he wages a horrible war on humanity borne of resentfulness and disappointment. It's a highly effective storytelling device as it keeps the Plutonian in the spotlight without ever giving the reader full view into the Plutonian's head, retaining the mystery of the character.
Battling the Plutonian is a cadre of lesser superheroes and villains banding together in a last ditch effort to stop him from destroying the world. This underground resistance desperately tries to gather information on the Plutonian's heretofore unknown weaknesses while avoiding his omniscient presence in this newly fearful world of a wrathful god awakened. But time is running out and the Plutonian appears unstoppable... where is the Lex Luthor-type character when you need him?
I'd seen "Irredeemable" on the shelf for a couple years now but never bothered to pick it up for some reason. I'm so glad I finally got around to it. It's a brilliantly original, utterly compulsive read which will appeal to all fans of superhero comics who enjoy alternative approaches to the archetypal characters found within this genre. After an astonishingly good first volume, I'm fully committed now to reading the next 9 volumes - that's how impressed I was with this book. All fans of "The Boys" should do themselves a favour and check out "Irredeemable", you won't regret it.