Happy Comics Release Day!
I picked up the Boom! Studios Free Comic Book Day sampler of Irredeemable & Incorruptible at my local comic shop at Saturday. I was attracted by their writer, Mark Waid, who’s written some of my favorite superhero work.
And the sampler hooked me enough to want to buy the trade paperbacks of both series.
This the beginning of what seems to be flip sides of the same story. In Irredeemable, the Superman of his world has become a super-villain, hunting down his former allies without mercy. On the flip side, Incorruptible is the story of how one of the super villains has an epiphany at the hero’s transformation and decides to redeem himself by going straight. Both stories start with action, as the former hero destroys an entire family and as the former villain takes out his old gang and tries to form an alliance with an honest police officer.
What Kids Will Like About It:
This is not all-ages material. The former hero’s actions in Irredeemable are chilling and scary, especially the on-panel death of a young child. On the other hand, the deaths are not overly gory or steeped in blood, as seen recently even in some mainstream superhero comics. The book features tragedy but it doesn’t cross the line in what I’ve heard termed gore porn. The emotions are honest and real and don’t seem over the top.
As for why the kids will like it, the action sequences are terrific. In the Incorruptible preview, cars blow up, bullets bounce off the main character in dramatic fashion, there are dramatic rescues, and there’s fighting. In tone, I would say it’s closer to the shonen manga aimed at teenage boys.
What Parents Will Like About It:
If this story featured Superman going around killing kids, I wouldn’t like it. But, instead, it takes superheroes and uses them to tell twin stories: one of redemption and one of descent into evil. As contrasts, they worked really nicely in the sampler.
Superheroes have been deconstructed in comics since Watchmen hit the shelves because they’re mythic archetypes and well suited to morality tales. This seemed an especially nice take on the idea because the descent into evil of one the world’s most powerful hero seems to have shaken a conscience lose in one of the world’s more dangerous villains. I have to admit I was more attracted to the redemption story. It’s always fascinating to me to see if someone can really change from their mistakes or if they’re doomed to repeat them over and over.
There’s also the mystery surrounding why the hero would become murderous or even if he’s been murderous all along and is now showing his true colors.
This are two panels that stick with me. The once hero stands over the body of his former friend and says to the survivor of the massacre, a young girl, “Do you know who I am, Sarah?” He then leans over to whisper in her ear. The subsequent panel is close-up is on her ear and his mouth.
He whispers “I’m a superhero.”
About the Creator:
Waid has an encyclopedic knowledge of DC and Marvel trivia. I’ve seen him on various comic boards over the years and he’s never, ever been stumped. My favorites among his work includes JLA: Year One, Empire, and his short-lived revamp of Captain America, which re-introduced Sharon Carter (Agent 13).
Artist Jean Diaz, from Incorruptible, is a Brazilian artist who’s done work on Highlander for Dynamic Forces, 24 for IDW, and on DC’s Wonder Woman. Peter Krause, the artist on Irredeemable, is best known for his work at DC, particularly on The Power of Shazam! series. (And, no, he’s not the actor. 🙂