The Plutonian takes a back seat in this volume. Oh he’s there, and he’s ghastly, there are glimpses into his past, and even the resurrection of his one-time sidekick Sam has little tempering effect on him, but the bulk of this volume deals with superhero team among whom he once fought for justice: the Paradigm.

The opening sequence details how they originally came together, and from there the narrative hops to the present where a beefed up Cary appears to have let the power go to his head. Qubit’s been searching for the long-lost enemy the Plutonian fears, and after two books he turns up, and while it’s revealed Qubit never kills, he compensates with other unpleasant habits. Meanwhile the US military finally respond to the threat of the Plutonian by unleashing something equally appalling, a demon named Orian, barely defeated by the Paradigm during their previous encounter. He warms up by delivering some seemingly irreparable damage to one team member before confronting the remainder.

Mark Waid and Peter Krause deliver another page-turning instalment with plenty of twists and horrific little touches displaying the overall thought packed into Irredeemable. The foster parents the Plutonian visits haven’t communicated verbally for years in case his super hearing picks them up. In a later volume Waid cops to taking the idea from a Twilight Zone episode, but its use here is frightening. He also addresses the decades-long debate among comic fans as to how a superman can make love to a human woman without unintended and possibly fatal consequences. And faded Sorceress Encanta undergoes an intriguing transformation given an interesting visual by Krause.

Also in this volume is a fifteen page preview of another Waid series, Unknown. Depending on your view it’s a nifty free addition or the unwelcome intrusion of advertising material.