Review by Jamie McNeil
The scene opens on Max fashioning a large building with his bare hands, alone in the wastes on the edge of Coalville, focused and brooding after the revelations of the previous book. It’s a wash of colours, a warning that relative peace is about to be interrupted. The villains are now leaderless, banding together as a form of protection against Max, but the terrifying and ruthless St. Lucifer, a megalomaniac with a thirst for power and Jailbait (Terri) in tow, has decided that he wants to make Coalville his seat of world domination. What remains of the US Government agrees with St. Lucifer, although believe they should be in charge. The Plutonian, the focus of Waid’s companion title Irredeemible, has also returned, and wants a word with Max.
Mark Waid’s great story both embraced and reinvented the tropes of the superhero genre. Incorruptible is a part of the overarching storyline, but stands apart from Irredeemable for the most part. Vol.4 was the first time since the beginning the two series intersected, and now reading Irredeemable Vol. 9 is helpful as it contains information on Max’s back story. Fortunately Waid had the good sense to ensure this stands independently without its sister collection.
For a start it has an epic super powered smackdown, largely due to artist Marcio Takara’s decision to use a technique from earlier volumes of keeping all the attention on the characters. Punches are in close up, rage burns in the eyes. The dialogue between the combatants is bizarre though and presumably because the other half is in Irredeemable Vol.9. That’s the weakest part of the story, but it transpires in the middle of full-throttle action so thankfully doesn’t interfere too much. It adds a sense of realism because since when does anything said mid-altercation make sense? Waid’s strongest element is keeping his characters relatable, whether hero or villain, and so utterly human. It’s a great perspective on human motivations adding a wonderful nuance to the story.
Waid and Takara wind up Max’s story in Incorruptible Vol.7, never losing sight of their intention to entertain readers.