Review – Incorruptible #4

BOOM! Studios is just on a roll cranking out one quality title after another and Incorruptible by Mark Waid and Jean Diaz is another of those titles. The title follows the struggles of a villain turned wanna-be hero Max Damage, who is formerly the FBI’s most wanted criminal for various crimes. Why formerly you ask?

Well, in this world of superheroes there was one that stood above the rest as mankind’s savior, The Plutonian. As we saw in the previous issue Max had reached a low point of almost insanity and was about to release a plague disease that he stole from the CDC. The vial of unknown origins contained a substance so potent that it would have killed millions, if not billions, of people.

The lab tech that Max obliterated was even willing to sacrifice his own life to try to convince Max of the insanity, even for him, of releasing such a plague. Just as Max was about to release this disease, The Plutonian descended onto the city and promptly massacred 3.5 million people. This has caused a change in Max that makes him want to go legit to give people hope again.

Haven’t been following the series? Well let me fill you in on Max Damages “superpower”. Essentially when he wakes up in the morning he is normal for about an hour. After that his skin and body turns diamond hard. His sense of taste, touch and smell fades out and he basically becomes a tank. His difficulty lies in that he feels numb to the world living with only two of the five senses, sight and hearing (for those of you not up to date on the two that are left). In this issue we learn a little more of his background and we also get a view of exactly what happened in Sky City the day The Plutonian snapped. Read on for more.

This issue really ties the whole story together and does a lot to help people understand the motivation behind Max Damage’s sudden conversion to good guy. Issue #3 ended with Max’s new best friend (I use the term lightly), Lieutenant Louis Armadale of the police, asking Max what the hell happened to make one of the worst criminals on record suddenly convert. The opening text box of the comic describes the scene pretty well, “Imagine being at Ground Zero in Hiroshima.”

Max said there was nothing on Earth that would have shocked him more than seeing The Plutonian melt down 3.5 million people in a heartbeat. It made him FEEL something, an effect that hadn’t happened in a long time. The artwork does a nice job of showing the devastation that was caused by the former hero without overdoing the blood and gore, something many titles tend to lean towards these days.

Max spent the next month in the wreckage of the city just thinking. He committed various acts of criminal behavior, but he never wanted the whole world to just stop. He always figured a godlike figure such as The Plutonian would be there to save people. When he came to the realization that without him there was no one, he decided that he had to try to be someone. I really enjoyed this part of the book as it sort of tied together what the hell was going on in the last three issues.

After more conversation Max Damage goes to visit Amberjack, a supervillain asking for one billion dollars to sell people a dimensional transporter of some kind. People are terrified in a world where their greatest hero could cook them on site and Max is going to find out what this device is. The ensuing battle gives us an idea of exactly how tough Max Damage is and involves fallout like metal armor, a giant robot and a falling out between Max Damage and his young admirer jailbait (I’ll let you guess what that character looks like).

The battle isn’t quite over yet as the issue draws to a close and Max investigates what could possibly either save people from or help him fight The Plutonian. Overall, this is a great issue that ties together the previous three while showing that going from criminal to hero is not going to be an easy journey. The art has a little more of a classic feel to it which is a little refreshing and I think does a nice job conveying the story. Pick it up (it hit stores last week) and follow this series if you are in the mood for an interesting tail of redemption involving some new superheroes and villains on a quest to, as usual, save the world!