Review by Frank Plowright
In the first Premier Edition Mark Waid and Peter Krause introduced the Plutonian, a superhero with Superman-level powers and once his world’s greatest and most beloved superhero. Now he’s become his world’s greatest threat. It’s not a hoax, nor an imaginary story (except in the way that all stories are imaginary), his former teammates in the Paradigm haven’t been able to contain him, and even that’s had a great cost.
That cost is considered over the opening chapters here. The sample art shows the US military no longer trusting any superheroes, and their solution is worse than the problem, although an inventive different type of threat. The Plutonian is seen in flashbacks developing no small amount of sympathy, and reviving his former sidekick from the grave, but the concentration here is primarily on the Paradigm and their plans to stop the Plutonian, or Tony as his friends call him.
Artistically this is a transitional volume, with the efficient Peter Krause drawing most of the first half, and the less desirable Diego Barreto most of the second. Krause is an artist without much flash about him, but a solid storyteller with a good grasp of laying out a decent page. While Barreto can tell the story, he does so with a minimum of effort, and in places looks as if he’s attempting to knock off a chapter before lunch so he has the afternoon free. Unfortunately as Irredeemable continues there’s less and less Krause and more and more Barreto, and it hurts the series.
What a shame that is because Waid really is turning in a virtuoso performance with twists that will surprise even seasoned superhero readers. An example? Well, under the belief that the greatest threat to the Plutonian is his former arch-enemy Modeus, the Paradigm’s resident genius Qubit has been attempting to locate the missing villain. By the end, he’s no longer missing, but it’s likely Waid will still surprise when he pulls the curtain back.
Reservations about some of the art notwithstanding, this is page-turning superhero entertainment, and if that’s what you enjoy then it’s worth picking up the series in some form. Used paperback copies of Volume 3 and Volume 4 (which includes content not included in this series) will be cheaper than this oversized hardcover, while the Irredeemable Omnibus collects the entire series. That continues in Premier Edition Volume Three.