Mark Waid has been crafting the adventures of Max Damage as a counterpoint to the carnage and despair the Plutonian dishes out over in “Irredeemable.” As Damage tries to find his way through the world, seeking to redeem himself, challenges rise up against him and this issue is no different.
Marcio Takara comes over to this book from his work on BOOM!’s “Incredibles,” but unless you knew that coming in, you’d never realize it. Takara has tailored his pencils to fit the story of Max Damage – the crazy, down-to-Earth, but imbued with astonishing super powers story of Max Damage. Takara’s art instantly hit me with a wave of nostalgia that brought to mind Bill Marimon’s run on “Damage” from the mid-1990s. Damage (Max that is) is a natural equivalence to Iron Munro from “Damage” (the series) so it was a natural leap in my mind. All the same, Takara’s style is clean and simple, but his characters are complex and charged with emotion that springs forth from their stances up through their facial expressions.
Nolan Woodard steps up to electrify Takara’s art with emotional colors that play up the characters expressions, conflicts, and struggles. Woodard’s colors add visual depth to the story while enhancing the emotional depth of the characters involved, from Max Damage to Senator Swain. Woodard avoids over-the-top superheroic coloring and uses realistic tones instead, to great effect.
This issue doesn’t just give Takara a chance to shine nor does it only advance one plot. No, “Incorruptible” throws a few different plots, histories, and deep, dark secrets at us, and this issue is spilling over with them. The Plutonian’s girlfriend, Alana Patel, clues Max Damage in to the secret of the Plutonian, why the Plutonian flipped, and what her role was in the massive change. Damage’s reaction is immediately intimidating and then revelatory, speaking as much to the evolution of the character yet to come as it says of the character’s evolution to this point.
Waid ends this book with a true cliffhanger. Things haven’t been easy for Max to this point, and they’re sure as hell not going to get any easier. This, naturally, means there’s more good reading in the near future. Waid’s world-building here and in “Irredeemable” has provided some exciting reads with unexpected twists, turns, and dips, and this issue is no exception.