Publisher BOOM Studios
Writer Mark Waid
Artist Peter Krause
Colors Andrew Dalhouse
So this week there was not one book that stood out screaming as the “big book” of the week, so I took out about five books that look like they should be good reads and decided to read Irredeemable #6 first. The reason is that the last issue was a little disappointing for me as I felt the back story regarding the Plutonian was not advanced at all. This caused me to feel that the series lost some of its pacing and I wanted to see how this issue played out. The main problem with that prior issue is that Waid and Krause have set the bar so high that even if it is just good then it seems less then that. When you consistently produce excellence even a very good issue seems flat. In some ways I get the feeling that this maybe a seminal run for Mark and Peter and especially Mark as this story just continues to be a dynamite book. This issue is back to being again the best of the best on the stands as the story really took a few steps forward. The one concern I still have for this book is that it is announced as an unlimited series, but it has to have an end. Now there is always the story after the end, but the story of how the Plutonian got from being the hero to the villain has to have an ending or eventually the audience will give up waiting for the big reveal.
This issue was an easy read. I usually pick up my books at lunch, drive home and eat a sandwich, start a comic, then back to work, come home and finish it. This book pulled me in and I finished it right away. It was an easy read, a great fast paced story and it advanced both the back story and the present day story line and left us with a couple of cliff hangers. I really enjoy it when a writer can make each chapter this exciting. So many writers put nothing into the middle of their story and save too much for conclusions or at least mini-conclusions during the course of a longer story. This is definitely a middle chapter of the current storyline and it is packed from beginning to end with actual things happening.
We open with the Plutonian taking a trip down memory lane. We find out as a young boy he was constantly being returned into foster care from parents who could not handle him despite all evidence to the contrary that Dan Anderson (his name) was a good kid and had a desire to be loved. We also saw in flashback form Dan’s inability to deal effectively with his powers. This is the first insight that we have been given as a reader as to exactly what happened to him growing up. Mark is skillfully leaving us to assume that he may have been “rocketed to earth” and then found and put into foster care, but he is not actually saying that. He is using our assumptions to set us up as he has not revealed who or what Dan (Plutonian) Anderson is at all yet. Is he an alien, a scientific experiment, a techno-organic being or something else totally different? At the same time Mark is revealing what has shaped him psychologically, but not what he is physiologically. It is a wonderful use of using the Superman archetype to seemly reveal more then he is revealing as the reader has to consciously remind himself that we cannot assume. Still we are learning all the things that have made him into the villain he is today.
We also see the hubris of Qubit who built the Modeus robots who the Paradigm now have to fight off since Qubit told them he did not need them anymore. One of the Modeus robots hits the panic button that Samsara had to alert the Plutonian when he needed him (think Jimmy Olson’s signal watch) and now they have to get out of there. They transport to the Plutonian’s hideaway to find Modeus leaving Cary behind to blow up the transport and prevent the Plutonian from following them. Once the Plutonian shows up, Cary plays back their greatest adventure when the Paradigm prevented a horrendous plague from going too far. We find out that it was the Plutonian’s fault the plague had happened. At the same time Modeus is apparently found, but what has happened to him is repulsive to the faces of the heroes that find him, but we do not see what it is yet.
Again somehow this horrid plague which turned children into walking skeletons was the Plutonian’s fault and when he finds out his reaction was said to be scary. We don’t get to see that reaction yet. So that is just another piece of the puzzle as to what makes him go from good guy to bad and on the flip side I have a feeling what he did to Modeus will show us just how far down this path he has gone. Mark constantly is reminding us that this character is truly irredeemable. The construction of the overall story has been brilliant to date.
Peter Krause continues to do some of his best work, but here and there I feel like the monthly schedule is perhaps a little faster then what he is comfortable in producing. I love his work, but it just feels like it is a little rushed here and there. I would not mind a publishing schedule of 10 times a year to keep Krause fresher or maybe find an inker for him. Still the layouts, page design, expressions just make for a flawless read. I never felt like I was wondering where I was going from panel to panel and Peter hits all the right emotional notes.
Overall Grade A – This has to be a candidate for the best new book of 2009 and should be on everyone’s pull list.