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Irredeemable


The NZA
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Irredeemable_Cassaday_cover_art.jpg

 

ok, bear with me - i know the concept sounds like something you've seen by Millar, or Kirkman, or Bendis or the like. but one of my favorite of the hit-or-miss writers, Mark Waid (the man who brought you Kingdom Come! Age of Apocalypse! badass Captain America stories in the 90's! and then...the Kingdom?! wait, come back...) ran with this:

 

"What if you go from, you know, Captain America to Doctor Doom? What if you go from Superman to Lex Luthor? How do you go from being the greatest hero in the world — someone that everybody knows, and everybody loves, and everyone recognizes — to the greatest villain in the world? What is that path? It's not a light switch, it's not an on-off switch, it's not something that you wake up one day and just become evil."

 

Irredeemable is author Mark Waid's third and "most complex" story concerning the "cost of superheroics" or the "path of villainy". Kingdom Come concerned the "ethical price of heroism" and Empire premised the ultimate failure of superheroes, but Irredeemable is "about how the lessons we learn about right and wrong as children can become warped and twisted when challenged by the realities of the adult world."[9] Waid realized that the concept was one he could never properly explore at either DC or Marvel Comics,[/url] a "Twilight of the Superheroes"-style story revolving around the premise of "how does a man go from being the world’s greatest superhero to its greatest supervillain?"

 

again, its not an entirely new idea, but Waid's taking his time fleshing it out, and i'm almost caught up (current issue # is 20) and i gotta say, this is one of the more interesting takes on what a world with Superman would really be like. Warren Ellis would totally have done this in 4 issues with twice the words (and four times the cussing), but again, its Waid's pacing that's working for me here - i genuinely haven't felt the story dragging along yet, and the crazy cliffhangers have likely aided that (also, artists have switched up a bit, but i like Peter Krause for this).

 

Haven't yet tried the spin-off, Incorruptible, but I'm curious. Anyone else given this one a go?

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its not about Supes being raised by soviets; its someone who tries to be - and is- superman for a long time, then he makes a mistake. he feels there's no going back from this mistake, so after all the pressure and years of holding back...he stops.

 

JZA - didnt read Eternity, but yeah, see the earlier bit about Waid being hit/miss for me.

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Waid's my Brubaker in that I tend to look the other way on the substandard stuff by sheer virtue of his good stuff. I recall Empire(not Eternity. Never Eternity) being the first true Villain POV piece I'd read in semi-mainstream context but it was too bogged down with 'Dr Doom isn't so bad, he's a great administrator' type stuff, like a boring version of Ex Machina or something.

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This is a good book that I've thoroughly enjoyed, though the synopsis makes it sound more complicated than it is. If you've read Black Summer or Red Son, you've wished it would be more like this book. Hell, even Garth Ennis is treading similar ground with The Boys right now, but this is what I consider to be the "right" version, or at least the most interesting.

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  • 1 month later...

I like where it's going, it's taken a turn that most of these books don't and after having read a rough version of this same story like 5 times (The Boys, Black Summer, End League, Red Son) I appreciate that they're doing something different with it. Whether that something is going to be worth it in the end the jury is out on (if Black Summer, End League, and Red Son are any indication then it wont) but I think I can guess the rough trajectory of where this is going and I can't say I hate it.

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For the most part, I can't get past the sharp decline in pacing that follows issue twenty. Just read issue 23, and I'm jarred because of how quickly it goes from thing to thing to thing, and then it ends on a retarded note on top of that.

 

My problem is, the story was well placed, and perceivably planned, for the first twenty issues. Now, you're lucky if each page is connected to the previous one.

 

I seriously enjoyed the story, but I've lost faith that it's still proceeding along the well-planned lines evidenced in the first issues.

I would've liked it to have ended with his capture.

 

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I thought the same thing and I'm not arguing that a lot of mementum has been lost since the snappy opening, but I think this bloated middle is leading towards a cool ending.

from what I can guess, Survivor is obviously the new villain of the piece and Plutonian is going to come back and try and redeem himself by killing Survivor and maybe Modeus as well, I suspect that this will end with Qubit putting the magic candle bullet through both Survivor and Plutonian or maybe Plutonian will sacrifice himself heroically putting Survivor in a position to be killed by Qubit. Then again I thought it was very obvious that Siege was going to end with Marvel Boy taking on the Sentry instead of something completely retarded, so who knows

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  • 1 month later...

Started out great.

 

Is now mired in stupidity.

Agreed on the first point. Not at all on the second.

 

I recently caught up on the series (current issue is #24) and love it! Like Nick & others have written in here, it's the pacing that really has me going as the concept isn't all that entirely new. And to digress for a moment, it has me wondering exactly how Ennis plans on topping Waid w/ where he's (seemingly) going w/ the Homelander in The Boys.

 

I'll admit the "v" aliens coming to take him away has sagged in pacing a bit from the other issues, but it's a far way from being "mired in stupidity." I like how Waid played up the compromise w/ the invaders leaving even if the whole warp-transporter trade-off did seem a bit flimsy.

 

I'm curious as to where Waid will take this series. Has he stated it has a definite end in sight like Y : The Last Man or Preacher? Or is he just gonna ride this thing out until the wheels fall off? It seems to me the book lends itself more to the former. However, I suppose Waid could continue w/ stories of the other supes in the Irredeemable universe, but that wouldn't likely interest me.

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  • 2 months later...

All caught up on this now, and I agree completely with Mal on the story just spazzing out for a few issues there. Clearly there was a plan and a pace to reach it with, but the pacing went out the window somehow so the book spent a few issues spinning it's wheels(100 Bullets did it for about 20, so I know how it looks).

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  • 11 months later...

So issue #37 came out and it's THE FINAL ISSUE! I wonder if this was more due to business than serving the story? Waid has launched his own online venture with his new comic Insufferable.

 

The ending was a bit hokey, but I liked it.

 

 

It's kinda clever how the inspiration to deconstruct a Superman gone mad in itself becomes the inspiration or essence for Superman himself. Very meta, Mr. Waid. Very meta indeed.

 

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  • 2 months later...
  • 7 months later...

My random internet fumblings reminded me that I never talked about this book. I went into it sort of expecting something akin to Miracleman, but not done as well.

I was quite wrong.

I still think the basic germ of the idea may very well have been inspired by the book, but it's telling a very different story. After the physical similarities and a couple of very basic premises, the similarities end.

 

Irredeemable is about a man who just can't take the pressure. Most of us are probably a lot more like Tony than Clark, as much as we'd prefer it otherwise, and Waid approached that in a way that made me genuinely think about the effect that kind of life, those kinds of decisions, day in and day out, could have on your psyche.

 

A quote from a random poster:

 

 

 

Irredeemable really resonated with all the kids I worked with who were in gangs, foster homes, in trouble with the law. For your average comic reader, the series is likely gripping, entertaining, heavy, and then drags on. To those kids, Waid was able to put many of their experiences behind the eyes of a superhero. Waid was quoted as saying,

The beauty of Superman is that he can deal with that level of adulation without it going to his head, without it warping him, but he's a very special individual. We presume, whenever we write superheroes and we come up with superhero origins, that anybody who gets the powers of a superhero — even if they are like Spider-Man and they've got things they've got to work out that issue and responsibility and power and responsibility — we assume that they eventually have the emotional makeup it takes to overcome these things. Well, what if you gave that level of power to someone who, at heart, didn't have that emotional capability?

...and this is a shared experience of many of these kids. Instead of just being responsible for going to school, doing schoolwork, and making friends, they get a bunch of other stuff dumped on their plate: parents doing drugs, friends stealing, loved ones being killed. What happens when a kid doesn't have a superheroic emotional capability? They follow Tony's path.

Reading the story really illuminated that path for a lot of those kids. I'm forever indebted to Mark Waid for Irredeemable, it brought therapy exactly where it needed to go for these troubled teens.

 

 

That's very interesting to me. As much as I put myself in the shoes of The Plutonian, it never occurred to me that, for many people, there's a very literal connection there.

 

But yeah, it did get kinda silly towards the end.

 

And finally, two pages that sum up the book nicely.

 

 

puMjPYS.jpg

 

2Scm8O0.jpg

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