is a Comic Book
series written by Mark Waid
, with art by Peter Krause and Diego Barretto.
The Plutonian was once Earth's champion, its greatest and most admired and trusted superhero. But something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Seemingly without reason, the Plutonian has begun to wage war on humanity, killing indiscriminately, destroying entire cities and swiftly going from the planet's greatest hero to its worst mass murderer. A group of former friends and fellow superheroes, having narrowly escaped the Plutonian's ruthless and swift butchering of the superhero community, have determined to find a way to stop him; however, the Plutonian guarded his identity — and most importantly, his weaknesses — zealously, leaving them only with a few scraps of information to follow in order to find out why the Plutonian has turned his back on his former ideals — and how to defeat him...
Another title in the same universe, Incorruptible
, began in December 2009. Its plot is the obverse of Irredeemable
: as a result of the Plutonian's rampage, supervillain Max Damage has an epiphany and decides to undergo a Heel-Face Turn
. Both titles ended in 2012 at issue 37 and 30 respectively.
Irredeemable and Incorruptible provide examples of the following tropes:
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Tropes present in both series
- Apocalypse How
- Starting out somewhere between Societal Disruption or Collapse on a Regional or Continental scale and Planetary-scale Civilization Disruption; Plutonian caused massive damage to the world, but humanity hadn't died out. Yet.
- Starting in issue #31, Engineered Extinction becomes probable. Australia and India have been hit with a massive wave of radiation; the total death count is roughly a third of humanity
- Culminating in issue #34, where Qubit confirmed that life will be extinct in three generations, and his plans were not going well since the radiation was not behaving like he expected.
- Arch-Enemy: Plutonian was this to Max Damage before Max's Heel-Face Turn. Plutonian's Arch-Enemy was always Modeus, the only one Plutonian was ever afraid of and, suprisingly, Max Damage, who always reminded Plutonian of his less-than-perfect childhood.
- Bat Family Crossover / Red Skies Crossover: Hard to tell, but long-awaited crossover between two series that promised us fight between Plutonian and Max Damage doesn't even have them meet before the fourth part. However, it gives a good insight on their history, including their old confrontations.
- Beware the Superman: The series is essentially examining what would happen if Superman went bad for real.
- Big Good
- What the Plutonian was before his Face-Heel Turn.
- Also, this is what Survivor and Max Damage seem to be going for.
- Blessed with Suck
- The Plutonian himself. Yes, he has roughly the powerset of Superman without any weaknesses, with some extras. The only problem is, he cannot turn most of his powers off, only control them by constant effort of will. He is Made Of Diamond, and even touching his hair can cut the hand of a normal person. He has tremendous Super Strength, and because of not-unfounded fear of accidentally splattering someone if he fails to measure exerted force just for a moment, he was never able to protect himself from bullying as a child. And of course, super-hearing forced him to know every ungrateful asshole's opinion about him. This gets especially interesting with the eventual reveal that The Plutonian is a Reality Warper, who subconsciously uses his powers to appear to be a Flying Brick. Nobody has remarked upon it yet, but we may thereby conclude all the Blessed with Suck attributes of his powers are his own martyr complex manifesting itself.
- Volt had problem controlling his powers before joining Paradigm, destroying any electronic device he had contact with, preventing him from keeping jobs. He had to live with his mother because of it.
- Max Damage has this too. He gets stronger and more invulnerable in proportion to how long he's awake. The problem with this is that when he gets up in the morning, he only has one hour before his skin gets too tough to do simple things like feel, smell, or taste things. Most of the time he can only hear and see, with all his other senses being lost under his invulnerability. Played for Laughs when Jailbait tries to have sex with Max at the eve of his first hour awake (the moment when his powers kick in) leaving him with only half of his face shaved.
- Crapsack World: While it may not have been so bad before the Plutonian went rogue, the world's governments and economy are crippled as he's constantly murdering anyone who opposes him and smashing buildings, not to mention what he did to Singapore. The rampage never stops so the world can't recover from anything he does. People are defenseless and terrified, and suicide has become commonplace. This is explored more in Incorruptible than the main series.
- Deconstruction: Your standard deconstruction of Superman through an Expy, challenging the idea that someone given superpowers would automatically do the right thing without being emotionally prepared, and the concept of happily being a Slave to PR without actual regard for what people think. The finale puts a meta twist on this: when Qubit scatters Tony's essence throughout the multiverse in an attempt to give him his second chance, part of it helps inspire a pair of artists to create the first Superman comics. Superman is the reconstruction of the Plutonian.
- A more specific example comes in Irredeemable; Dan (the Plutonian) perceives that his adoptive mother just shot herself. Though he rushes to save her, the fact that he heard the shot and considering the properties of the propagation of sound, by the time he heard the shot it was already too late and it was impossible for him to get there in time; this in particular is a deconstruction of Superman's power of super-hearing.
- The Plutonian is essentially one of these for Superman. Gone very, very wrong. And with none of Superman's weaknesses. He's also very evocative of Supreme and Miracleman in appearance. In fact, his costume is nearly identical to Apollo's from Grounded.
- Alana Patel is an expy of Lois Lane.
- Samsara curiously seems to be a loose expy of Jimmy Olsen.
- Some of the other heroes are also slightly familiar. Gilgamos = Hawkman - Egyptian + Babylonian.
- The Inferno was pretty much an Expy of Batman. He got nonchalantly killed by the Plutonian off-stage, probably as a Take That aimed at those who place Batman high in Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny contests.
- Hornet, meanwhile, was another Badass Normal on the team (what little we see of him makes him seem more like Green Arrow), and was also effortlessly killed by The Plutonian.
- It could be argued that both characters are a mix and match of Batman and Green Arrow. Hornet exhibited more of Batman's attributes, however, due to having a "cave" located under his house, reliance on skills and gadgets, demonstrating Crazy-Prepared in his deal with the Vespan, his infamous friendship with Tony à la Superman/Batman and detective skills in noticing subtle clues weeks before that The Plutonian was going to breakdown sooner or later (Tony asked about his wife by name, Hornet never told Tony his wife's name).
- Bette Noir is a Colour Character who uses trick ammunition and has Improbable Aiming Skills, a lot like Green Arrow. Except that whereas it's occasionally suggested that Green Arrow's skills are a result of a latent superpower, Bette's are unambiguously revealed to be just that in the final act.
- Hilariously, Volt is perfectly aware he's an Expy. As a black man with electrical super-powers, he's all too conscious that he's one of maybe a half dozen other people with that exact description (Static, Black Vulcan, Black Lightning), and frequently bemoans it.
- The superhero Qubit is a rather unusual case of this, being based on a non-comics, non-superhero character. He's clearly based off of the Tenth Doctor (admittedly, with some similarities to Mr. Fantastic and Forge from the X-Men).
- Modeus is an Expy of Lex Luthor with a little bit of Brainiac thrown in.
- Max Damage combines elements of Metallo (especially the frustration at losing his senses when he powers up) and Giganta. Silver Age Giganta got stronger and tougher, but less intelligent, when she grew - Max loses brainpower more indirectly, through the severe sleep deprivation necessary to bring him up to full strength.
- Orian is an Expy of, of all people, Myxztplk, though not played for laughs. A touch of Lobo is thrown into the mix as well, also not played for laughs.
- Jailbait has a lot of thematic elements with Harley Quinn.
- Scylla and Charybdis are a really deconstructive take on the original Hawk and Dove... notably, when Hawk dies, Dove goes insane and violent in mourning.
- Going Postal: The whole plot is about what happens when a Super Hero goes postal.
- Hollywood Density / Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: "Half the pull of a black hole" is meaningless when we don't know how massive or how distant the black hole is. An average human could withstand all the pull of a small black hole even if it were close to them, and we all withstand the pull of mind-bogglingly massive black holes every day simply because they're very far away.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: One of the motives of both The Plutonian and Max Damage. The Plutonian because his powers made it impossible for him to have the same kind of stable life most people have, and Max because he loses most of his senses after being awake for a few hours.
- Ironically enough, Max's origin is revealed to be I Just Want to Be Special. He started out as a common criminal, when actual super heroes (like the Plutonian) become part of the world, he realizes its pretty pointless being a criminal if you can't match their powers. One huge cash payment to a mad scientist later, he's the only surviving guinea pig of a Super Soldier Serum and Blessed with Suck.
- It's Personal: The Plutonian hates Max Damage because Max was the first victim of Plutonian's unrestrained rage back when Max was a teen and Tony was still a boy. Max was a constant reminder to Tony that he wasn't a perfect Ace.
- Mind over Matter: There are a few psychics mentioned and seen. Plutonian has this power to a god-like degree, but doesn't realize it (his psychic powers manifest in specific forms, enabling his more conventional-seeming superpowers); his birth parents have his powers to a greater degree.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The Plutonian gets this a couple of times throughout the series, but it never takes him long to go back to massacring people. Max Damage has this after the Plutonian made him realize just what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a supervillain's rampage.
- Scenery Gorn
- Super Dickery: Deconstructed; a flashback describes the Plutonian's relationship with a Lois Lane Expy, which occurs in a similar fashion as Superman and Lois Lane's in the Silver Age of comics. Except when the Plutonian reveals his true identity, confidently expecting her to fall into his arms and agree to marry him, she freaks out about the sudden revelation of all the mind games he's been playing on her all this time. He doesn't take it well. A major recurring plot thread in these flashbacks to the Plutonian's "good days" seems to be his frustration over how even though he lives in a classic super-hero universe type setting, no-one reacts the way they did in the old comics.
- Superheroes: But of course.
- Super Strength: Several characters have it, but special mention goes to Plutonian; he can resist the equivalent of half the pull of a black hole.
Tropes specific to Irredeemable
Tropes specific to Incorruptible