"Irredeemable" #36 is a perfect example of how this title is the ultimate cape/science experiment. Mark Waid builds a crescendo of a superhero book while layering it with insane levels of science. This issue drops some new concepts while also dragging new soap opera moments through the mud.
Waid doesn't dumb down what he's doing in these pages. If the reader needs to go to a dictionary or the expanse of the Internet to understand "accretion disc theory in reverse," then so be it. There is something to be said for the ability of a creator to have faith that this content will find its audience, or the audience will bend to it. "Irredeemable" isn't just a superhero comic to drown your mind in; you are required to think through these scenarios and analyze why things are happening but also scientifically how. The cause of the spectacle is just as important as the spectacle itself.
The major flaw with this issue, and sometimes the series, is that it trips over itself to one up each character and new scenario. Everything is according to someone's plan, no matter how dense the narrative leading to it. The villain might falter, sidestep, win a little, nearly be beaten, come back, try something new and then win and it will turn out all to be part of the 72 step plan of the hero. These convoluted situations feel a little bit forced. Surely not everyone is thinking so far into the future and planning for so many variations. However, if these people are as smart as Waid, then they probably are.
The way characters interact with the Plutonian is what makes this book tick. Seeing those who love him, hate him or wish to use him all try their best to twist the situation to their desires makes for intriguing drama. It's great to have a lead character who is interesting but who also makes those around him interesting in his glow.
Diego Berreto deals with some hard science and he pulls it off with style and precision. Nothing is uncertain, there is no confusion through the way Beretto depicts teleportation or robotic villains. The coloring from Nolan Woodard continues to astound as he switches between pages of character to pages of brilliant science and dastardly deeds.
"Irredeemable" #36 deals with one situation and then raises another by the end. This is what the series does, it puts one concept to bed while another flies out at you from a completely different area. No one is ever safe and there are always shiny things to take your attention elsewhere.