I don’t read comics.

[Audible gasp. Audience rears back in horror. Lady faints.]

I know, you would think that as a writer for such a comics-centric site as DestroyTheCyborg!, I’d be up to my elbows in inky panels every week. However, you’d be mistaken. I don’t think I could tell you who’s part of DC or Marvel, to be honest. I’m hopeless. I’m a no-good, no-comic-readin’ book reviewer.

But we’re trying to change that. And thus, the Comic Virgins series is born.

First stop? Irredeemable, created by Mark Waid and drawn by Peter Krause, published by Boom! Studios. Did I like it? Jump to see.

Let me lay out the ground rules of this adventure: Mike and Ben, Editor-in-Chief and Media Manager, respectively, worked out which comics I’m going to read and in what order. I don’t really know what’s in store for me, but I can say that Irredeemable is definitely not what I expected first up to bat.

Now, Plutonian, is that any way to treat your friends?

Now, Plutonian, is that any way to treat your friends?

I found the premise – what would happen if a superhero went bad? What makes someone evil? – to be interesting. I’ve had my fair share of exposure to the superhero model through a lot of the comic movies, and I was expecting a quintessential tale of man-saves-world. Man-burning-world-with-nuclear-eyes wasn’t exactly on the table, persay, but I found myself enjoying it once I got into the plot, though I felt a little lost at the beginning.

As an aside, I have one musing I want to highlight: some guy (Ed Dukeshire, to be exact) was credited as “Letters” in the front of the comic. Comics have one person just to make the letters? I mean, yeah, his handwriting is awesome, but GOODNESS. Comics are a whole lot more complicated than books, that’s for sure. Books have one author (most of the time), but this comic has many people that each seem intrinsically necessary for the creation of the book. I guess I’m bringing this up because I want to make a note of the “group-think” type of creation it has. Is this what ultimately separates comics from plain ol’ fiction? I don’t know. We’ll see.

Anywho, back to the comic. According to the inside cover legalese stuff, publication began in 2009. Apparently, it not the first thing from this creator (thank goodness for Wikipedia, amirite?), though, I’ll be honest, I was confused on whether or not there were other things starring The Plutonian (our hero-turned-baddie) and his former crew, The Paradigm. Judging by my research (once again, Wikipedia to the rescue), this seems to be the first time we meet “Tony,” as Plutonian is nick-named.

I guess the basis for my confusion (besides the whole not-reading-comics thing) is that the story seems so well fleshed out already that this couldn’t be the first time we’re introduced to these characters. Let me put it another way: you know how in novels authors will walk you through meeting a character? With this comic, I didn’t get much of a walk-through. In fact, the first two pages are the hero-now-DEFINITELY-a-villain burning up some people with his laser eyes. No real introductions. I read it the first time in about 30 minutes, but then spent almost just as long going through it again, trying to straighten out the story line in my head. Is this how comic books normally work? Once again, time will tell. You folks are going to be riding this discovery rollercoaster with me, so hold on. I have a feeling I’m going to be reading comics more than once to fully grasp the plot pretty regularly.

As a last point, I’d like to discuss the images, as comic books are, well, chock-full of ’em. Having literally nothing else to compare it to, I have to say I find the overall tone of Irredeemable as dark. Literally, someone turned out the lights. The color palatte is very dim, and for good reason: if Plutonian is on a genocide rampage, nothing’s going to be sunshine and daisies. This led me to notice how the panel backgrounds change color based on the time of the storyline.

With a little bit of jumping back and forth, the reader  gets to experience hero-Plutonian and villain-Plutonian, side by side. How do you separate the two? Well, in addition to the fact that he’s not murdering innocent people while a hero, the background of the page is white. Snowy, pure white. Everything’s happy. When he’s a villain, the background is a dark blue or black. I like the subtle, physical embodiment of what’s going on in the storyline through the colors. This is something fiction definitely doesn’t have, and I like having cues beyond the words on a page to give me a sense of the environment.

So, overall, how was the first comic? I liked it. And, I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to the next one. What’s up next? Check back soon to find out!

Feel like picking up IrredeemableFind it at your Local Comic Shop or online at Amazon or at Boom! Studios’ website.

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

2 Responses to Comic Virgins: Irredeemable Vol. I

  1. Nick Nelson says:

    It’s really interesting reading your review from the opposite perspective. As someone who is both an avid comic book reader and someone who read (and enjoyed) Irredeemable, I found your take on the confusion about the “history” of the book to be very interesting. I think for most comic book fans that read Irredeemable, it was understood that this was not a character or universe that had existed before this series. But given that Mark Waid’s creation was a play on the classic superhero trope, it felt natural (and not confusing) to be thrown right into the action. We already knew the backstory simply from reading a LOT of comic books.

    So, my point is, I absolutely loved reading your review of this book and I cannot wait to get more of your take on comic books. I think too often those of us in the comic book community get so caught up in our own world, we forget that there are a lot of people experiencing comics for the first time. This is a very important perspective, not only for the creators of comics to understand, but also for the comic reading public to see. Reading your take on this story gave me a whole different appreciation for this comic.

    Oh, and also, your observation of the differences in color between the flashbacks and the regular story is extremely apt. That’s totally impressive to spot that on your first comic book reading experience. That’s something that took me years to start looking at.

    Great job on the post! Can’t wait to read more!