WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The Plutonian — once Earth’s greatest superhero — has snapped and is now the deadliest supervillain ever, having destroyed his home city and murdered an entire country. His former superhero teammates desperately attempt to find a way to stop him, while guarding some dark secrets of their own.
WHY IT WORKS: If there’s anyone who has a complete understanding of how superhero comics work, it’s Mark Waid. While The Plutonian and The Paradigm are clearly inspired by Superman and the Justice League, Waid is able to twist the original dynamic into a fresh and twisted view of the superhero genre.
Under Waid’s pen, The Plutonian didn’t just snap suddenly. It happened gradually over time. Some of the best scenes in the series depict The Plutonian’s attempts to find acceptance and love, only to be disheartened by his superhuman senses, which allow him to hear everything people say about him behind his back.
“Irredeemable” also strikes a compelling tone of helplessness, as the governments of the world, his former teammates and even the supervillains have been unable to end The Plutonian’s rampage. Peter Krause and the rest of the art team also deliver spectacular looking pages that capture the scale of the story.
WHY IT DOESN’T: “Irredeemable” moves at an almost maddeningly slow pace. At times it feels like the book is being stretched out beyond it’s natural end point and it’s difficult to determine how far into the story we actually are.
In live-action, “Irredeemable” would have to be a big-budget production to capture the scale of the series. After “Watchmen,” few movie studios seem willing to go that route with properties outside of Marvel or DC.
HOW TO DO IT: To bring “Irredeemable” to life on a smaller budget, a “District 9” approach could be used to convey the events from the viewpoint of the ordinary people in the world.
But to fully realize “Irredeemable” into a film and maintain the vision of Waid and Krause, a studio has to take a chance on the anti-Superman movie. This is a story that’s never been told in that medium and could be a film that revolutionizes what a superhero movie can be.
FINAL WORD: “Irredeemable” is one of the best superhero comics currently produced and could easily be a blockbuster feature film. The high concept of an evil-Superman-like character is easy to explain and could also lead interested moviegoers back to the series that spawned it.
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