The promotional material that accompanies Boom! Studios’ Incorruptible #13 identifies this issue as being great for new readers. Solicitation copy always makes things sound better than they really are, right?

Find out after the jump!

Title: Incorruptible
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Marcio Takara
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover(s): Christian Nauck (Cover A) and Gary Brown (Cover B)
Publisher: Boom! Studios

Writer and series creator Mark Waid unveils a new story arc that clearly accomplishes its primary objective. The only recap information I have to offer is contained within the pages of this book. It appears that Incorruptible and its big brother, Irredeemable combine to form a gestalt pocket universe. On one of the end of the spectrum you have the ultimate superhero turned rogue, The Plutonian. Rogue may be something of an understatement since the guy actually killed millions of people in a televised event witnessed the world over.

You Say Fatigue, I Say Dissociative Fugue, Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

On the other side of the fence constructed of heroism, we find Incorruptible’s leading man, Max Damage. Having witnessed his nemesis, The Plutonian, summarily eradicating a huge swath of teaming humanity, Damage makes a life-changing decision. Instead of flying the flag for the super-powered criminal element, this wholesale slaughter extravaganza stimulates a massive change in heart. Damage is intent on delivering the justice and protection that The Plutonian has abandoned.

Interlaced through all the capillaries and resting at the very organic heart of this combined story is psychology. What causes people to undergo such dramatic changes to their core character? Perhaps the previously identified character traits were false projections, a mirage obfuscating true inner self? I’m giving myself a headache…

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Damage seems to be hopelessly outclassed and outranked in the power category. Damage is no featherweight, but there is only one Superman cipher within these books, and for the time being, this title is held by this world’s only true heavyweight; The Plutonian. Our new hero’s superpower is quite unique. He becomes stronger, tougher and smarter the longer he stays awake. Of course sleeplessness makes for irritability, lack of focus, emotional exhaustion, etc. In other words, he’s vulnerable to the same negative symptoms that the general populace wrestles with when deprived of restful slumber. The first hour or so he wakes up, Damage is reportedly vulnerable to attack. It takes his body some time to ‘power up.’

To help even the odds, our recently transformed hero has a small crew of like-minded heroic friends fighting by his side. In the literal sense of the word, the costumed crime fighter Headcase fills the sidekick role. She’s recently experienced a great personal tragedy (the death of her parents), so she’s looking for some retribution. Unfortunately, we get a few glimpses beneath the hood and it seems that she more than lives up to her namesake. In other words, she may be a few sandwiches short of an undersea adventure. Here comes that headache again…

Police Lieutenant Louis Armadale and Alana Patel, The Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend round out his support team. What’s that? Oh yes, you read that correctly; the former good guy/current bad guy’s ex-girlfriend is now working with the former bad guy/current good guy. It’s not really all that complicated. I’m being serious…

Incorruptible Is An Onion & Tears Will Be Derived From JOY

Incorruptible is a layered story pregnant with large and small themes. I was fully engaged throughout the entire issue and very little of the story’s events seemed overly telegraphed. The role of Alana’s therapist is something of a mixed bag. While it provides for a great way to share some exposition with new readers, the dubious nature of the therapist’s intentions seem like an easy plot device. However, this is only 1 issue so we may eventually learn that this plot point is simply a red herring.

Waid packs in a lot of story in just 1 comic. Nobody can accuse the man of decompression for the sake of padding out a thin storyline. Incorruptible features art by Marcio Takara, a name that I have to admit is unfamiliar. What the images lack in detail, they make up for in expression. Facial expressions and body language are Takara’s artistic emphasis. Backgrounds are minimal but this is sure to be by design, not happenstance. The characters are the story in this book, not the fisticuffs or texture of wood grain on the dash of Damage’s automobile.

Bottom Line: Jump In, The Water’s Fine!

If you’re looking for an intelligent examination of heroism and the impact that choices make in our lives, Incorruptible #13 offers you a great reading experience. New readers should have no problem acclimating themselves to Waid’s unique take on superheroes. Incorruptible #13 earns 4.5 out of 5 stars, my highest review ranking of the year.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Mike McLarty

Mike McLarty

A San Diego native, Mike has comics in his blood and has attended the San Diego Comic Con every year since 1982. His comic interests are as varied as his crimes against humanity, but he tends to lean heavily towards things rooted in dystopian themes. His favorite comic series is Warren Ellis’ and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem is the best character ever devised. Mike realizes those statements will alienate a good portion of his potential audience, but those are the facts. You are unlikely to find a single collector with a better Transmetropolitan art portfolio than the one he has in his possession. He is an Assistant Editor for the upcoming Transmetropolitan Charity Book.

He also occasionally freelances for various other comics websites, which he promotes through his homepage (www.comickarma.com), Twitter and other inherently intrusive forms of social media. Mike firmly believes that the best writers come from the UK. This could be because he’s of Irish descent; not so much based on physical geography as the fact that the Irish like to drink heavily.

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9 Comments

  1. Navarre
    December 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm — Reply

    Whatever happened to Jail Bait?

    • Rob M
      December 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm — Reply

      After she was kidnapped and hurt he told her to get as far away from him as she could. The last we saw of her..She fell asleep next to Max in a storage closet in the hospital. When Max woke up she was gone

      • Navarre
        December 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm — Reply

        Oh. :-( Okay.

        I wonder why they wrote her out?

        • RedneckTaZ
          December 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm — Reply

          Because it wouldn’t do for a newly turned baby face to be nailing a minor on the side (Unless your ring name is “Hogan”.)

        • @lantis
          December 21, 2010 at 12:41 am — Reply

          They only wrote out the underage/original Jailbait. Max was worried that she would be killed as a means of getting at him and didn’t want the blood of a child on his conscience. She’s been replaced by an adult woman who looks almost identical to the original who has nothing to lose and just as many psychological issues as the first sidekick.

          • December 21, 2010 at 6:21 am — Reply

            They only wrote out the underage/original Jailbait. Max was worried that she would be killed as a means of getting at him and didn’t want the blood of a child on his conscience. She’s been replaced by an adult woman who looks almost identical to the original who has nothing to lose and just as many psychological issues as the first sidekick.

            Which is a problem for me. Including Jailbait in the first place feels like a miscalculation, because I spent the entire first arc being distracted by her “Why won’t you touch me anymore?” side-plot, which made it more difficult to get into Max’s head. The underage girlfriend gambit seemed like a shortcut to tell us how immoral Max Damage used to be and how he had no regard for the mores of normal society, but once we were there, she was just a distraction. Worse still is the fact that, by the rules of comic book drama, when a couple breaks up, you expect them to get back together in a romantic whirl down the line. There was almost a tendency to root for her to get her boyfriend back, which I believe is the main reason Terri was shuffled off to be replaced by Headcase. Just my two…

          • @lantis
            December 21, 2010 at 7:21 am — Reply

            I don’t think it was entirely a miscalculation. The impression I got from all of Terri’s prodding is that the relationship was almost entirely just a physical one. Given all her daddy issues it seems perfectly in line that she was seeking solace in the arms of an older man to give her that strong male role model she lacked. Once Max refused to have sex with her as far as he was concerned the relationship was over and he only kept her around as a protector. If they really wanted to just “write her out” they would have gotten rid of her much sooner by letting her run away with no consequences. I can see why you think the inclusion of Headcase indicates backpedalling from Waid though since he is now obviously hinting at a potential romance with Alana. Apparently she’s just destined to date Sky City’s greatest hero, hopefully she doesn’t make Max go insane too.

  2. December 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm — Reply

    Hogan?! I make him HUMBLE!

  3. @lantis
    December 21, 2010 at 12:38 am — Reply

    Well, I learned almost nothing about why this issue is any good except for the fact that the overall series is good. And I can infer that this new arc is a good jumping on point for people who haven’t already read the series, am I right?

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