Incorruptible? Unreadable…

So the hot book of the week was Incorruptible, a BOOM! Studios comic from Mark Waid and Jean Diaz.  I say it’s the “hot” book, because my local comic store owner was touting it as such and another customer almost thrust it into my hands, surprised that I hadn’t leapt over the counter and torn it from the wall upon entering.

“What’s it about?”, I asked, all innocent and wide-eyed.

“Who cares?” he replied.  “It’s the new Mark Waid book, and it’s AWESOME!!”

Well, it wasn’t.  Not even close.  What it was, was the same old tired “what-if-superheroes-lived-in-the-real-world” premise we’ve been seeing for decades.  This time, the spin is that a former supervillain is trying to go straight.  Good idea; worked great in Astro City‘s “Steeljack” storyline.  But not so much here.  Let’s face it:  all the stories have been told by now.  What differentiates a bad story from a good one is passion.  Now, Mark Waid is a good writer.  Kingdom Come is a great story, never mind Alex Ross’s eye-candy artwork.  Waid’s run on the Fantastic Four was rightfully hailed as one of the best in the series — and that’s saying a lot.  But you could tell, from reading those books, that he was enjoying himself, and he really cared about what he was writing.  Enthusiasm is infectious; you can’t help but be swept up in it.  I’ll take an Ed Wood movie any day over the latest sci-fi disaster flick — what the man lacked in talent, he more than made up for with love.

This book… I mean, there’s nothing here to hook me.  I don’t feel like I know these characters.  By the end of the book, I didn’t care if any of them lived or died.  And I’m sorry, but where this costs me four bucks an issue; this is not something I can afford to “let it grow on me”.  Maybe I’d be more forgiving if these were characters I’d grown up with, but I don’t think I’d have read this even as a kid.  Feh.

Mr. Waid, if you’re reading this, the reason I’m being so hard on you is because you wrote one of the most poignant slice-of-life stories I have ever read.  Christmas With The Super-Heroes #2, back in 1988… the text piece on the last page.  The story of how you sat in your college radio station, listening to the AP announce that John Lennon had just been shot.  The shock of the moment forever affecting you; binding you to everyone in that studio in a way that will never be broken.   That story moved me.  It moved me because it moved you, and your feelings jumped out past the printed page and touched my heart and I’ve never, ever forgotten it.  I hope someday to meet you so I can shake your hand and tell you in person how much that story means to me, and how the series you’ve worked on have been enriched by your keen storytelling style.

I won’t be bringing up Incorruptible.

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