I said at the end of my Irredeemable review that I was hoping to finish up the omnibus for the spin-off series Incorruptible. Since I usually plan these posts out in advance somewhat and give myself a couple days to at least look them over, I had almost certainly started the other book by the time that review went up.
Well, that book is down now, and the only one of the large trades is the next Walking Dead Compendium…oh yeah, that. That’s for later. For now, how was Incorruptible?
When the Plutonian, that universe’s version of Superman, went wrong, he went really wrong. But when he destroyed the city he called home, he did leave a handful of survivors, and one of them was his longtime foe Max Damage. Max hated Plutonian for a wide range of reasons, but that day he saw something that shook him to his very soul. As such, he decided right then and there to go straight.
The thing is, Max literally doesn’t know how to be a good man. His first thought is a simple one: do the opposite of the sort of stuff he did before. Max possesses superhuman strength and resistance to injury that gets greater the longer he stays awake. He goes back to a normal human level as soon as he falls asleep. He used that to cause trouble for Plutonian, and he was a very bad man. He had an underage girlfriend named Jailbait, committed a lot of crimes, and basically made the people of his hometown of Coalville a bit miserable.
His first few acts as a “hero” are to take a recovering alcoholic cop to show off his hideout full of money and weapons. Once there, he breaks it off with Jailbait because, well, she’s underage, and then torches all his stuff because crime paid for it.
That, in a nutshell, is how Max does things: he doesn’t do anything by halves. He could have theoretically used his cash and villain stuff to do good, but instead he decides it’s no good and destroys it all. His next steps are to find people to teach him ethics. He’s not very good at that sort of thing.
Now, as much as Irredeemable really delved into the world of a Superman gone bad, Incorruptible doesn’t quite go that far. It is mostly a character piece on Max, but as Watson said to me, you can read Irredeemable without ruining the ending of Incorruptible, but the reverse is not true. If anything, this is just Max’s story and how, no matter what he does, he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Max has a very black-and-white worldview. He only really cares about fixing Coalville, and his “honesty above all” policy can cause more problems than it solves.
Part of that stems from how Max sees good and evil. The other part are his methods: Max is trying to fix things, but he is perhaps using criminal methods to fight criminals. He’s not outright breaking the law; it has more to do with attitude and beliefs than it does anything else, and his main idea of being a superhero seems to be that, if someone doesn’t do the right thing, it might be perfectly acceptable to bust some heads.
I liked this one but didn’t love it. Mark Waid has an interesting world here, and his sense of humor sometimes leads to some nice moments. I like his characters, and I like visiting this world. The biggest problem with Incorruptible is it suffers in comparison to the parent series. It’s still above average, but I greatly preferred Irredeemable.
8.5 out of 10 short speedy guys.
That was fun…I am not expecting to have the same level of fun with The Walking Dead…