Thursday, December 17, 2009

Incorruptible #1

Mark Waid is building a little universe for himself over at Boom! Studios; this is the second ongoing superhero series he's launched, and it's a companion piece to Irredeemable (and certain to cause much title confusion). It's the flip side to that book, also; Irredeemable is about the world's most powerful superhero, who snaps and starts a one-man war against humanity. Incorruptible is about a supervillain (very powerful but not, I would guess from reading Irredeemable, the world's most powerful) who, after witnessing the Plutonian's descent into madness, decides to go straight. It definitely has shades of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Incognito, which was a little more morally ambiguous, but it forges its own path by being planted firmly in the world Waid is constructing.

This is an enjoyable enough first issue, although it's really just getting started by the end, but it still feels like a companion piece to Irredeemable rather than its own entity. This isn't a superhero universe where characters can kind of exist separately from each other and only interact occasionally; this is a world completely defined by the actions of one guy who killed millions of people. So anything that happens in Incorruptible is going to be a reaction to what happens in Irredeemable, and I can't imagine anyone getting much out of this book without also reading Irredeemable.

The main character here, a bad guy called Max Damage, is a bit of a cipher right now; in Irredeemable that's okay, because that book is really more about the heroes trying to stop the Plutonian than about the Plutonian himself. But here I felt like I was barely getting a glimpse of the guy by the time the issue ended. Still, I trust Waid, who's done really interesting stuff with Irredeemable, and I like that this book has a somewhat lighter, more traditional tone in comparison to the extremely grim Irredeemable (whose tone works, but doesn't need to be repeated). And the clean, crisp artwork from Jean Diaz is consistent with Peter Krause's work on Irredeemable while looking a little more straightforward. I'm skeptical about the long-term potential here, but I'll certainly keep reading to see where things go, and I like Waid's twisted take on superhero conventions.

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