Retrospective: A Look Back at Mark Waid's "Irredeemable"

Irredeemable: Written by Mark Waid; Art by Peter Krause, Diego Barreto, and Eduardo Barreto; Lettered by Ed Dukeshire; Colors by Andrew Dalhouse. Boom Studios, 2009-2012, 37 issues. Collected in 10 Trade paperbacks, as well as issues 1-12 in the Definitive Edition.

With little new content being produced due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, we here at POP have decided to take a look back at some memorable stories, books that you can grab online or by ordering from your LCS for delivery to keep you occupied if you happen to be stuck at home.

For my first pick, I give you Irredeemable by Mark Waid and Peter Krause. This 37 issue series ran from 2009 to 2012. Thanks to Comixology 's now-two-month free trial, I was able to finally finish this series. So, let's dive in to what makes Irredeemable worth reading!


Irredeemable is the story of Plutonian, aka Tony, aka Dan Anderson, the world's greatest superhero (think Superman, Green Lantern, etc.). Fighting alongside and sometimes above his superhero team Paradigm, the Plutonian is the world's poster child for what a superhuman/being is and should be. The team is made up of Bette Noir, Charybdis and Scylla (twins), Volt, Gilgamos, Kaidan, and Quibit. Each character fits an archetype, but is unique in their own way. Gilgamos, for instance, is a 2,000 year old man with enormous power, an amalgamation of Hercules and the modern superhero.

The book starts off in the thick of it: Plutonian is on a rampage, seeking some sort of vengeance on his former teammates, picking them off one-by-one. The "why" will come later, but as the story progresses, we learn that Plutonian/Tony snapped; he was sick of saving the world, only to have many people not show any gratitude, mock him, and just be outright indifferent. He destroys the city he's sworn to protect, and so his team goes into hiding while devising a plan to bring Plutonian down.

The team's mastermind, the Q if you will, Quibit, devises a way to find Plutonian and eventually subdue him (he hates killing.) This involves imbuing robots with the minds and the nature of Plutonian's greatest foe: Modeus. The only person to ever make Plutonian cower, Modeus (the real Modeus) eventually comes into play. How will Plutonian be stopped? That's for you to find out.

I don't want to give away too much more, but know that each character evolves, the storylines keep upping the stakes, and all 37 issues are page-turners.

Why it's good:

Waid has crafted a story using typical superhero archetypes, and, as many before him have done (Alan Moore and Rick Veitch come to mind), deconstructed them down to their core; he's invoked their human nature. Plutonian (is he human or alien?), like Superman, can't help but save the world. But unlike Superman, he has a breaking point, as would most people in his position. Volt, the black superhero who can manipulate electricity, jokes about how he is a stereotype in the superhero world; that self-awareness is amusing, but Volt is also a complex and layered character, making him one of the most enjoyable of the group. And on and on, Waid does this with each character. There are twists and turns galore, with each book ending on a cliffhanger, begging you to come back and read the next issue.

The art is fun and exciting, mirroring the story. Krause and Co. have a Bryan Hitch-sort-of-feel to their character design and movement. The colors pop, and the contoured lines are steady when needed, and fast and moving when called for. The lettering is perfect for the pacing of the story and doesn't skip a beat. Overall, this book is as fun to look at as it is to read.

You can get all 10 volumes of this story on Comixology (link above), or ask your LCS if they have any copies on hand, preferably. I highly recommend this series if you're a fan of superhero stories, Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Bryan Hitch, Warren Ellis, and just good storytelling in general.

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