REVIEW: Irredeemable #33

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The Plutonian faces off against his most powerful foes yet–his parents–as we finally get a brief taste of crossover in this issue, part three of the four issue Irredeemable/Incorruptible crossover!

Irredeemable #33
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Diego Barreto
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editors: Matt Gagnon & Shannon Watters
Covers: Kalman Andrasofszky and Dan Panosian

Last time in Irredeemable… The major world powers unleashed the absolute last resort, letting out two massively powerful beings that had been trapped in a radioactive field; the process doomed 1/3 of the world’s population to die from radiation poisoning. The beings confronted the Plutonian and revealed that they were his parents, and since then we’ve been visiting Tony’s origin story.

Not much of a crossover

This is issue three of the four issue Irredeemable/Incorruptible crossover, an event that has had variant covers claiming it would be “the fight of the century” and generally making a big deal of being the first crossover between the two series. Unfortunately, while each issue has been good, the crossover has fallen far short of the hype, at least in my eyes.

If you’re going to hype a crossover, there are a few important events that need to happen. First and foremost, there needs to be interaction between the characters. The first issue (Irredeemable #32) didn’t feature Max Damage at all. The second issue (Incorruptible __) only featured the Plutonian in flashback. This issue features Max Damage in a few flashback pages as well as one story page at the very end of the issue. All the issues involved so far have been dealing with the characters’ backstories, which has been admittedly interesting. It is nice to flesh out these characters that Mark Waid just threw at us a couple years ago; we’ve had time to grow to love and/or loathe the characters, now we can learn more about them. Calling it a crossover though bothers me. This issue right here is the first one that actually contains some crossing over of the present day Plutonian and Max Damage–and that, as I mentioned, is on the very last page of the issue. If this issue had been branded as the first of the crossover, I would’ve been mildly irked that it was only a single page, but could’ve forgiven it since it had some significant shared backstory. As it stands, as the third issue of a four part crossover, I am miffed at what I see as false advertising.

The story of Irredeemable 33 is good. We learn more about the Plutonian’s backstory and why he went from an untamed wolf-child to a superhero. If you missed issue 32, you really ought to read it, as the Plutonian’s twist on the prototypical Kal-El going to two loving parents concept is absolutely brilliant. The transition to hero in this issue is also really well done, though I really didn’t care for the origin of the Plutonian name. The parallel to SHAZAM was weak, and the acronym just seemed generally unnecessary. I can forgive Mark Waid for this, as everything else in the backstory is lovingly and carefully handled.

The interaction between the Plutonian and his parents was intriguing; while last issue hinted at Tony developing a way to fight back, we see that he still has a long ways to go in his personal evolution before he even comes near his progenitors’ power level.

While I don’t care for the art in Irredeemable as much as Incorruptible, Diego Barreto is a talented artist. Everything is done in the Boom! Studios house style, so if you enjoy that then the art will be fine for you. I personally love the bold inks that feature heavily in both Irredeemable and Incorruptible, but if that isn’t your style then you may want to pass on these titles (and most Boom comics).

BOTTOM LINE: Despite my frustrations, an enjoyable issue

Overall, I feel like this issue would’ve stood as a 4 star comic if it had been the first of the crossover. As it stands as the third of four, I have to dock it some points, leaving my final score for Irredeemable 33 at 3.5 stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆