The idea of Superman gone bad isn't entirely original - from Watchmen to Powers volume 6 - but superhero deconstruction is always one of the more intriguing story ideas. As Grant Morrison points out in his afterword, Mark Waid loves Superman so much that it makes a funny kind of sense for him to tap into the horror of power without responsibility. And he does it so very well. There's note of genuine tension throughout this first volume of Irredeemable (Boom! Studios). No-one is safe from Plutonian's wrath and his targets seem indiscriminate making it difficult to build a strategy against him (assuming he's not listening in on your every move to start with). Below: how it all began to turn sour for Plutonian.
Superhero stories have predominantly focused on a reassuring notion that no matter how mean and nasty the villain, there was always a more powerful/smarter good guy ready to take them down. I'm unsure whether the idea of turning that concept on it's head says more about the warring duality in the comic industry or society itself. A supremely powerful being as the bad guy is a perfectly dramatic conceit on its own, the fact that he used to be (in all but name and appearance) Superman turns it into a tale about cynicism. Anyway, it's an entertaining, surprisingly tense read with a certain resonance. £7.50