I’m going to start following Irredeemable as single issues rather than as graphic novel collections–for two reasons. First, it would be cheaper. Each of these books collects four issues of the ongoing series, which sell for $4 each. So four single issues would cost me $16 dollars–one dollar less than a trade paperback book. (Even less after my shop’s subscriber discount for single issues.) Second, these books feel very thin, and they end too quickly.
They are interesting and worth reading. I just wish they were longer. It already feels like I’m reading single issues–albeit, single issues that cost $17 a piece. That feeling is even stronger with this third volume in which only three issues of the series are collected (along with Irredeemable Special #1)–and the entire book is basically a big fight scene.
It just doesn’t seem like the overall story has progressed much. This edition is more like Mark Waid ticking off another plot point on his “What happens when a hero goes bad” checklist.
Friends try to reach him? Check.
Nations fight each other to gain his favor? Check.
Team-up with a traitorous villain? Check.
All that is really accomplished is the death of another hero and the planting of future plot points.
Speaking of which, the Irredeemable Special tells three short stories about The Hornet, Kaidan, and Max Damage that are supposed to have significance later in the series–which is debatable. True, Hornet initiates an anti-Plutonian plan called “Vespa,” and Kaidan is shown to be more selfless than her mother. However, the Max Damage story just shows how he hooked up with Jailbait. How’s that important? Was this just an excuse to have Howard Chaykin draw women in underwear?
These issues were illustrated by fill-in illustrator Diego Barreto rather than by regular artist Peter Krause. Barreto’s art is boring. It looks nice, but it lacks excitement. Krause at least injects some drama and mood that underline the fear and tragedy of the story. Barreto’s work just looks like a dull copy of Gil Kane.
Between the pedestrian art and the thin story, this volume is a first misstep in an otherwise good series. I’ll continue reading the comic if the next story arc is better, and I’ll give Barreto a few months to improve. However, even I can tell we’re just waiting for the inevitable clash with Max Damage.