9 Rated Books Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: Irredeemable Volume #1 by Mark Waid and artwork by Peter Krause

Title: Irredeemable vol.#1

Author: Mark Vaid/ Artist: Peter Krause

Genre: Graphic Novels/ Comics

Publisher: Boom! Studios
Publishing Date: October 6, 2009
Paperback: 128 pages

Stand Alone or series: This volumes collects the first fours issues in a brand new and ongoing comic series.

Why did I read the book: Author Kate Noble, in her Smugglivus entry listed this as one of her top reads of 2009. I bought it as soon as I read her post.

How did I get the book: Bought

Summary: IRREDEEMABLE dares to ask the question: what if the world’s greatest hero decided to become the world’s greatest villain?


Sometimes I really wish I could create new words, because I don’t think there is a word in the dictionary that can convey the awesomeness that is Irredeemable. And ok, let’s acknowledge the known fact that I have a tendency to exaggerate a little bit but this is really, really damn good.

Irredeemable is about how the world’s greatest, most powerful superhero becomes its greatest villain. This first volume #1 collects the first four issues and it opens with some of the most shocking pages I ever read: with an attack by the aforementioned former superhero, the Plutonian, on the house of another superhero and one-time ally. He proceeds to annihilate the Hornet’s entire family (including children) but for one child whom he ironically asks after murdering her father right in front of her eyes:

Do you know who I am, Sarah?
I am a superhero

After this intense introduction, the story focuses around his former teammates trying to find out what the hell happened to make such a good, heroic person turn into such an evil maniac out to get everybody and how in the world will they stop him. On the other side of the spectrum, the supervillains are also trying to figure out what to do. They don’t know whether Plutonian is now their ally or still their enemy. What everybody, heroes, villains, innocent bystanders agree on is that Plutonian is dangerous, to the entire world.

The first and most important point about Irredeemable is the author’s intense, deep study of what is like to be a hero and the cost of superheroics; about failure and villainy and what the path to both is. What is the emotional aspect and what is the burden of being a superhero? How can a person be prepared for all the adulation, responsibility that comes with their powers? How does one deal with family, close relatives, lovers and friends and foes? Although these four issues have not yet fully explored all of those they do open the possibility for those questions to be asked.

The second is fear. The Plutonian is the most powerful being in the world. It is as though Superman decided that he has had enough and decided to blow the Earth to smithereens. The thing that has always sort of frustrated me is how in the comics no matter how powerful the supervillain they are never as powerful as the superhero. In Irredeemable, the fear is absolute. There is not a question, that the Plutonian is unstoppable. Although, there is a shadow of hope which lies in the hands of a villain called Modeus, his arch-nemesis, still it says a lot , that humanity’s last chance may be in the hands of a supervillain. That’s supernovelty right there. But yes, fear. Irrevocable, irreducible, inescapable fear.

I also quite liked the format, the investigate tone of the story with the other superheroes investigating Plutonian’s past unveiling his journey from heroism to villainy to the reader.

And finally, there is the art, the absolute superb art. Beautiful and clean, it also sets the mood perfectly between past (bright, light colours) and (dark, shadowy colours) present. Consider:

The forth issue ends with a bang that left me with my mouth hanging open. No doubt that the Plutonian is indeed irredeemable regardless of who he used to be or what has led him down this path. All I know is that volume #2 cannot come soon enough. I shall devour it.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: The first 8 pages which you can read here, in the publisher’s website.

Additional Thoughts: Volume #2 collecting Issues 5-8 will be released in March and Volume #3 (issues 9-12) in July (although the individual issues are out and about up to issue 10).

This link will take you to see all the different covers of the different issues, I think this one is my favourite:

Also by the same author out last December following up on Irredeemable:

Super villain Max Damage had an epiphany the day The Plutonian destroyed Sky City. When The Plutonian turned his back on humanity, Max Damage decided to step up. Now Max Damage has changed his name to Max Daring and turned from his formerly selfish ways to become… INCORRUPTIBLE.

Verdict: Incredibly ballsy, interesting and gripping. Irredeemable is a read I highly recommend to those who love to read about a different side to superheroes.

Rating: 9 Damn Near Perfection

Reading next: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper

You Might Also Like


  • AnimeJune
    January 20, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Hoooooooly crap I want to read this series RIGHT NOW. Particularly Incorruptible – I’ve always had a bit of a sympathy for the Devil, or in this case, for the villains in literature and how they turned out that way. There’s little I hate more than a villain who’s a cartoon who just wants power and money for power and money’s sake.

    Also, great artwork!

  • Lexie C.
    January 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Ahhh Mark Waid you never let me down. I need to pick up Incorruptible…

  • Cindy
    January 20, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Thank you for the link, I read it right now. Really interesting !

  • Danielle
    January 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    holy cheesenuggets now I want to read it RIGHT NOW *checks Amazon*

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it once more: you two will put me in the poor house. And I haven’t even gotten my own credit card yet. DAMN!

  • Kate Noble
    January 21, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Hey Ana!

    Love your post — you hit the nail on the head with your analysis of the cost of superherodom. I love this series!

  • The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » Graphic Novel Review: Nemesis by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
    March 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

    […] Irredeemable by Mark Waid […]

  • The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » Graphic Novel Review: Nemesis by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
    March 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

    […] Irredeemable by Mark Waid […]

Leave a Reply