Or – “MAX. DAAAMAAAAGE…”

In2.jpg

It’s funniest if you say it like Trey Parker as Matt Damon in ‘Team America: World Police.”

In1.jpgIncorruptible #2

Writers: Mark Waid
Artists: Jean Diaz

Previously, on Incorruptible:  When the Plutonian popped his invulnerable cork, the entire world was completely changed.  Good people died, bad people profited, and even the heroes are lost in a chaotic mess of a world.  The only thing that is really for sure is that everyone has to re-evaluate their place in the world, and super-villain Max Damage is no exception.  Formerly the baddest of the very bad, something unspoken happened on the day that the Plutonian changed.  Max hasn’t admitted to anyone the details, but he’s determined to go straight, giving up his life of crime, his hidden lair, the spoils of his villainous ways, and even the wiles of his (appropriately named) sidekick Jailbait.  Max has even mended fences with his longtime opponent, Lieutenant Armadale, going so far as to offer his services to curtail crime in the city, now a post-apocalyptic wasteland.   With his partners disbelieving, his erstwhile girlfriend trying to entice him back into her teenage clutches, and his only ally unsure of his motives, Max Damage may find that the path to heroism is more dangerous than his years of villainy…

We open with Max showing Armadale a secret exit from his hideout, and the cop and the criminal finding common ground in the quest to make the name Max Damage one that the citizens cheer rather than fear.  Armadale asks what brought this change of heart on, and Max blames it on the Plutonian.  “It’s never that simple,” replies the cop.  “Not with YOU.”  Max shrugs the whole discussion off, and asks if he’s in or out.  Armadale pulls out a coin, and flips.  “Call it,” he says…  The next morning, Max prepares for his day, only to find a nearly-naked Jailbait taunting him by stealing his razor.  I love the art throughout this sequence, as the young lady is both cute and obviously younger than is wise, without being pervy or overly titillating.  Max grabs his razor, but it’s too late, his invulnerability kicks in (and a double entendre about ‘getting hard’ is kind of cute.  They both suit up and head out, only to find that the cop and the girl don’t care for one another.  Max takes a drive through the city, finding that things haven’t been cleaned up from the Plutonian’s rampage, with hospitals still in ruins, the police force decimated, and the stadium polluting the water in the city’s reservoir.  A sudden call comes on the police radio, and the first mission of Max Damage as super-cop begins…

There’s a slight snag, however, in that no one told the police he was changing sides, so they open fire on Max as he arrives to try and defuse a hostage situation.  Max ignores the hail of gunfire, stalks into the house, and draws fire from a crazed father who wants only to protect his family from the Plutonian.  Max’s interference allows the wife and children to escape, but the police break in and gun the man down in his own home.  An angry Max Damage stalks away (after keeping Jailbait from robbing the family, a cute touch) and is told by the wife that her husband )couldn’t afford to protect them, mentioning a man called “Orjean.”  Max Damage sets out to find one of his old cronies, the man called “Origin”, a scientist villain who sells super-powers to the public.  Of course, his powers are e always fatal, and seldom actually do anything, but no plan is perfect…  When Max tracks him down, Origin is long gone, but he left behind a surprise: a flaming man who wants to kill Max Damage. Doesn’t work, of course, but once he’s down, he does spill one bit of information that Max CAN use. “Origin says there’s a way off this planet…”

This is an intriguing premise for a series, and it dovetails nicely with Waid’s other book, Irredeemable, giving us a street-level view of a world shattered by Superman gone mad. There are a few moments that ring oddly, such as Max’s insistance that his ongoing relationship must stop because the girl is underage. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but that particular bit feels more and more like there’s something important that Max isn’t telling about his change in alignment, something that is about more than just balancing the scales against Plutonian (who, it should be noted, borders on the Adriatic.) The interplay between Max and Armadlae is well-handled, reminding me of Riggs and Murtaugh, in a way, and the art by Jean Diaz is excellent throughout. If anything, Incorruptible makes me want to know more about this particular backstory. A recent podcast had a long discussion about the superhero as a genre of comics, as a PART rather than the whole of the comic book industry, and this book and its companion are a nice take an superheroes that we haven’t seen a dozen times before. Incorruptible #2 is a fun read, earning a strong 4 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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