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No More Mr. Nice Guy

A Comic Book series written by Mark Waid, with art by Peter Krause and Diego Barretto.

The Plutonian was once Earth's champion, its greatest and most admired and trusted superhero. But something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Seemingly without reason, the Plutonian has begun to wage war on humanity, killing indiscriminately, destroying entire cities and swiftly going from the planet's greatest hero to its worst mass murderer. A group of former friends and fellow superheroes, having narrowly escaped the Plutonian's ruthless and swift butchering of the superhero community, have determined to find a way to stop him; however, the Plutonian guarded his identity -- and most importantly, his weaknesses -- zealously, leaving them only with a few scraps of information to follow in order to find out why the Plutonian has turned his back on his former ideals -- and how to defeat him...

Another title in the same universe, Incorruptible, began in December 2009. Its plot is the obverse of Irredeemable: as a result of the Plutonian's rampage, supervillain Max Damage has an epiphany and decides to undergo a Heel Face Turn.

Tropes present in both series

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Plutonian is essentially one of these for Superman. Gone very, very wrong. And with none of Superman's weaknesses.
    • He's also very evocative of Supreme and Miracleman in appearance. In fact, his costume is nearly identical to Apollo's from Grounded.
    • Some of the other heroes are also slightly familiar.
      • Gilgamos = Hawkman - Egyptian + Babylonian.
    • The Inferno was pretty much an Alternate Company Equivalent of Batman. He got nonchalantly killed by the Plutonian off-stage, probably as a Take That aimed at those who place Batman high in Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny contests.
      • Hornet, meanwhile, was another Badass Normal on the team (what little we see of him makes him seem more like Green Arrow), and was also effortlessly killed by The Plutonian.
      • It could be argued that both characters are a mix and match of Batman and Green Arrow. Hornet exhibited more of Batman's attributes however due to having a 'cave' located under his house, reliance on skills and gadgets, demonstrating Crazy Prepared in his deal with the Vespan, his infamous friendship with Tony à la Superman/Batman and detective skills in noticing subtle clues weeks before that The Plutonian was going to breakdown sooner or later (Tony asked about his wife by name, Hornet never told Tony his wife's name).
    • Hilariously, Volt is perfectly aware he's an Alternate Company Equivalent. As a black man with electrical super-powers, he's all too conscious that he's one of maybe a half dozen other people with that exact description (Static, Black Vulcan, Black Lightning), and frequently bemoans it.
    • The superhero Qubit is a rather unusual case of this, being based on a non-comics, non-superhero character. He's clearly based off of the Tenth Doctor (admittedly, with some similarities to Mr. Fantastic).
    • Modeus is an Expy of Lex Luthor with a little bit of Brainiac thrown in.
    • Max Damage seems to be a loose Expy of Metallo.
    • Orian is an Expy of, of all people, Myxztplk, though not played for laughs. A touch of Lobo is thrown into the mix as well, also not played for laughs.
    • Jailbait has a lot of thematic elements with Harley Quinn.
    • Scylla and Charybdis are a really deconstructive take on the original Hawk and Dove... notably, when Hawk dies, Dove goes insane and violent in mourning.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0; Plutonian has caused massive damage to the world, but humanity hasn't died out. Yet.
    • As of issue #31, Australia and India have been hit with a massive wave of radiation; the total death count is roughly a third of humanity. Yikes.
    • And now, as of issue #34 Qubit has confirmed that life will be extinct in three generations, and his plans are not going well since the radiation is not behaving like he expected.
  • Arch Enemy: Plutonian was this to Max Damage before Max's Heel Face Turn. Plutonian's Arch Enemy was always Modeus, the only one Plutonian was ever afraid of and, suprisingly, Max Damage, who always reminded Plutonian of his less than perfect childhood.
  • Beware the Superman: And how. The series is essentially examining what would happen if Superman went bad for real.
    • Later issues appear to reveal that the Plutonian's fellow superheroes aren't as white-hat as they'd like the public to think either.
    • In fact, if Lex Luthor bought a comics company and made himself editor, this comic would be exactly what you would expect. Seriously, they should do that in DC!
  • Bat Family Crossover\Red Skies Crossover - Hard to tell, but long awaited crossover between two series that promised us fight between Plutonian and Max Damage doesn't even have them meet before the fourth part. However, it gives a good insight on their history, including their old confrontations.
  • Big Good: What the Plutonian was before his Face Heel Turn. Also, this is what Survivor and Max Damage seems to be going for.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Plutonian himself. Yes, he has roughly the powerset of Superman without any weaknesses, with some extras. The only problem is, he cannot turn most of his powers off, only control them by constant effort of will. He is Made of Diamond, and even touching his hair can cut a hand of a normal person. He has tremendous Super Strength, and because of not-unfounded fear of accidentally splattering someone if he fails to measure exerted force just for a moment, he was never able to protect himself from bullying as a child. And of course, super-hearing forced him to know every ungrateful asshole's opinion about him.
    • This gets especially interesting with the eventual reveal that The Plutonian is a Reality Warper, who subconsciously uses his powers to appear to be a Flying Brick. Nobody has remarked upon it yet, but we may thereby conclude all the Blessed with Suck attributes of his powers are his own martyr complex manifesting itself.
    • Volt had problem controlling his powers before joining Paradigm, destroying any electronic device he had contact with, preventing him from keeping jobs. He had to live with his mother because of it.
    • Max Damage has this too. He gets stronger and more invulnerable in proportion to how long he's awake. The problem with this is that when he gets up in the morning, he only has one hour before his skin gets too tough to do simple things like feel, smell, or taste things. Most of the time he can only hear and see, with all his other senses being lost under his invulnerability.
  • Crapsack World: While it may not have been so bad before the Plutonian went rogue, the world's governments and economy are crippled as he's constantly murdering anyone who opposes him and smashing buildings, not to mention what he did to Singapore. The rampage never stops so the world can't recover from anything he does. People are defenseless and terrified, and suicide has become commonplace. This is explored more in Incorruptible than the main series.
  • Deconstruction: Sort of. It really isn't actually deconstructing Superman through an Expy -- if anything, the writers are celebrating his Incorruptible Pure Pureness -- but rather, the idea that someone given superpowers would automatically do the right thing without being emotionally prepared, and the concept of happily being a Slave to PR without actual regard for what people think.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: One of the motives of both The Plutonian and Max Power. The Plutonian because his powers made it impossible for him to have the same kind of stable life most people have, and Max because he loses most of his senses after being awake for a few hours.
  • It's Personal: The Plutonian hates Max Damage because Max was the first victim of Plutonian's unrestrained rage back when Max was a teen and Tony was still a boy. Max was a constant reminder to Tony that he wasn't a perfect Ace.
  • Mind Over Matter: There are a few psychics mentioned and seen. Plutonian has this power to a god-like degree, but doesn't realize it (his psychic powers manifest in specific forms, enabling his more conventional-seeming superpowers); his birth parents have his powers to a greater degree.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Plutonian gets this a couple of times throughout the series, but it never takes him long to go back to massacring people. Max Power has this after the Plutonian made him realize just what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a supervillain's rampage.
  • Scenery Gorn.
  • Super Dickery: Deconstructed; a flashback describes the Plutonian's relationship with a Lois Lane Expy, which occurs in a similar fashion as Superman and Lois Lane's in the Silver Age of comics. Except when the Plutonian reveals his true identity, confidently expecting her to fall into his arms and agree to marry him, she freaks out about the sudden revelation of all the mind games he's been playing on her all this time. He doesn't take it well.
    • A major recurring plot thread in these flashbacks to the Plutonian's "good days" seems to be his frustration over how even though he lives in a classic super-hero universe type setting, no one reacts the way they did in the old comics.
  • Superheroes: But of course.
  • Super Strength: Several characters have it, but special mention goes to Plutonian; he can resist the equivalent of half the pull of a black hole.

Tropes specific to Irredeemable

  • The Alcatraz: One of the Vespas' prison planets where Plutonian was performing hard labor uses a graviton well capable of generating half the pull of a black hole to keep its superpowered prisoners in line. The prison overseers make a tidy profit by housing such dangerous prisoners for people willing to pay for that security.

 They've not much incentive to rebel with the weight of an entire starsystem bearing down on them.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: One of the motivating factors behind the Plutonian's Face Heel Turn was the criticism he received from the population after all his acts of heroism. It's played with, however; despite a few critical and ungrateful voices, by and large the Plutonian was greatly loved, and the criticism he otherwise received tended to be for things he more or less deserved criticism for. It's heavily implied that the Plutonian, consumed by a desire to have everyone love him, simply couldn't tolerate any criticism whatsoever, no matter how justified.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Gilgamos. Loses one wing in a fight and tears the other off to use the bones as lock picks. Hard. Core.
    • Volt tells the Plutonian that he'd "give his left arm" for all he's done for him -- and is taken up on the "offer."
  • And I Must Scream: Plutonian was sent to the end of time by his parents in issue #32, where he'd be alone and completely paralyzed for all eternity, doubling as a Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere.
  • Badass Abnormal: Charybdis' powers were, for the majority of his life, not up to par with the Plutonian's. The good thing about that? He has had to actually learn how to fight, so when his powers increased to Plutonian-levels he suddenly begins to smack the Physical God around, since the Plutonian never really had to learn how to use his powers against somebody on his own level.
  • Batman Gambit: Plutonian invokes this on the supervillains he meets in Inferno's lair. He says the Inferno had a plan to destroy him, and handed each handeheld device with a single button that he implied was the product of said plan. He doesn't even get to finish explaining before each villain presses said button, triggering the lair's self-destruct.
  • Bedlam House: In issue #23, Plutonian ends up in one. In the middle of a sun.
  • Berserk Button: We only see it once, but Qubit does not like to be called "stupid".
  • Body Horror: To summon Orian, one has to read the magic word, upon which he crawls out through your mouth, killing you in the process.
  • Brain Uploading: Modeus uploaded his brain into Samsara and then later into a robot copy of himself built by Qubit. He later considered putting himself into Scylla, but decided he'd prefer remaining in his robot-body for now. Most recently, he's transferred into Bette Noire.
  • Break the Cutie: Kaidan's one of two members of the Paradigm that can fight Tony off and have a chance of survival. She's the only surviving member of the team who's not shown signs of a pending Face Heel Turn, and her origin story strongly implies that she'd see such an opportunity coming and choose death without hesitation. Her powers require her to speak. If she survives, it'll be one hell of a subversion.
  • Broken Ace: The Plutonian had the facade of Incorruptible Pure Pureness but underneath it all, seems more like he was one of these.
  • Broken Pedestal: Oddly, the Plutonian's pedestal broke before he went crazy. After he made a crucial mistake in the field that left thousands of children dead, and he initially lied about his role in this tragedy his sidekick stopped trusting him. Knowing his closest friend couldn't look up to him the way he used to was one of the last straws...
    • What made it worse was that people from the lab (where he had turned over the device that led to the tragedy) went behind his back and told Samsara about it, claiming to be too afraid of him to do it themselves.
  • Brown Note: The child-killing sonic plague and the sigil that summons Orian.
  • The Cape: The Plutonian, prior to his Face Heel Turn. He notably only wears the cape in flashbacks when he's still good.
  • The Chessmaster: Modeus. The Plutonian's arch-nemesis, and reportedly the only one he was scared of. Possibly the only one capable of finding a way to kill him. Disappeared a few years prior to the main story. Is now possessing/controlling the lobotomized sidekick, egging on the Plutonian on his rampage. Oh, and a Robot Double with his exact mental patterns has started making trouble on his own. And now in the body of one of the few people that Tony has non-homicidal emotions towards. Oh Crap.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: "Wow. I didn't even get to the end of the sentence." Leads to a wonderful moment of self-Darwining thanks to The Plutonian's magnificent bastardry.
  • Comforting the Widow: The Survivor attempts this with Kaidan. Made particularly disgusting by the fact that the recently-desceased lover in this scenario is his brother.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: This trope is extremely common in Superhero comics, keeping the heroes from having to explain things to their folks (Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, most X-Men, all the Flashes, most of the Green Lanterns). While what happened to the Plutonian's biological parents isn't clear yet, this is apparently true for him too. In the series' common style of course, there's a deconstructive twist- this means he spent most of his boyhood bounced around between unloving and heartless foster homes, instilling him with a compulsive need to be loved by everyone as an adult.
    • Unloving and heartless? We haven't seen a single one that wasn't loving. But a young Plutonian was a 5-15 year old child with the powers of Superman... including senses strong enough to make lying all but impossible, and unreliable control at best. Of course they would at some point, be afraid, and of course he knew.
    • ... aaand in issue #31, we find that he's not really an orphan. Or even remotely human, for that matter.
  • Dead Sidekick: Samsara's not quite dead- but he's been lobotomized. The reason for this is that Samsara's power protects him from mortal harm and he thus can't be killed, so he had to be neutralized another way. And of course, the Plutonian did it himself to keep him from spilling the beans on his secrets.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Modeus.
    • Confirmed: Modeus himself recognizes he is in love with the Plutonian by issue #22, or at least with his power.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A representative of Singapore told the Plutonian his country was grateful to him. The Plutonian however, recognized this to be a lie, and responded by sinking the country into the sea.
    • Before his Face Heel Turn, the Plutonian warns his secret identity's coworkers of this when they discover him. They initially think it's a bit of a funny joke, but he points out to him that any one of his enemies would gladly rape their children with hot knives to find it out. Several commit suicide afterward.
  • Driven to Suicide: The above mentioned former associates of Plutonian.
    • After reading a Modeus possessed Cutter's mind, a telepath almost immediately commits suicide.
  • Dying Like Animals
  • Everything Is Racist: Volt. There are some scenes where his hair-trigger accusations of racism genuinely find their mark, but there are others that don't, like accusing Bette of preferring Gil because he's not black.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As evidenced in the page image.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Plutonian enjoys puppy-kicking on a personal level as much as his mass atrocities, largely to demonstrate the points that used to frustrate him so much.
  • Face Heel Turn: The Plutonian's occurred prior to the series beginning.
  • Fallen Hero: And how!!!!!!!!!
  • Fate Worse Than Death: This is what motivated Encanta to spill the beans to Qubit. He threatened to robotize her, this apparently having the effect of depowering her while being horribly painful. Of course, it's permanent.
  • Foe Yay: Deconstructed. Modeus both hated the Plutonian and loved him, leading to him building robotic sex dolls and trying to destroy everything that might be competition, among other things.
    • Possibly inverted in issue #23. During his mental fugue, Plutonian sees Alana, his ex-girlfriend, turning into Modeus. Too early to say for sure but there are strong indications that Plutonian on some level wants to be loved, even by Modeus.
  • Foreshadowing: In Irredeemable #18 Hornet's reference to It's a good life
  • For the Evulz: But of course.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Plutonian's name is one, though no-one else knows it. Chosen by the foster father he gained his alter-ego's name, Dan Hartigan, from, it stands for Piety, Loyalty, Utility, Truthfulness, and Order.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Plutonian apparently gave himself a buzzcut after turning.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Plutonian has been showing this during his tantrums even before he became a villain.
  • Grand Theft Me: Modeus has done this thrice first to Samsara, later to his own robot duplicate, and now Bette Noir. It's not clear if it's an innate power of his or something he needs assistance for.
    • In one of the issues before Plutonian got captured and dumped on the prison world, it shows Modeus talking to Encana in a supernatural dimension. It turns out that Modeus has moved past super-science and is now experimenting with sorcery.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Charybdis, after doubling in power and becoming the Survivor, is basically undergoing an accelerated version of the Plutonian's turn to darkness in his efforts to stop the Plutonian and be a true hero.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Plutonian's Sadistic Choices and mind games seems to be ultimately aimed at proving that. It also seems that he didn't kill most of his old teammates yet because he's striving to break them psychologically, for the same reason.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Up to Eleven. The Plutonian lays a beatdown on the depowered Charybdis, but the tables are turned when we find out that Charybdis actually has at least twice as much power as he did before.
  • I Never Told You My Name: A variation, when the Plutonian refers to the Hornet's wife by name during a Flash Back. The Hornet had never mentioned her name to him, and realizes that he's spying on his teammates and may not be entirely trustworthy.
  • Insufferable Genius: Qubit. This doesn't go unnoticed by this teammates, some of whom find it less and less tolerable as the situation worsens.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: From the point of view of his former friends, the Plutonian's done just this; however, the flashbacks in each issue subtly indicate that it has been stewing for quite a while...
  • Kids Are Cruel: The Plutonian was forced to put up with bullying, as a child, because any retaliation could have killed the kids bullying him. After his Heel Face Turn, he uses that history of bullying to justify his willingness to murder children.
  • Kryptonite Factor: The radiation that imprisoned the Plutonian's parents -- the same radiation that is engulfing the world -- can, and does, destroy Plutonian's physical body.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Taken rather literally with Samsara.
  • Lotus Eater Machine: The Vespa have stuck the Plutonian in one at the end of Chapter 19. When disengaged from it, he's still stuck inside, having chosen not to awaken.
  • MacGuffin: Bette Noir made a bullet of a piece of wax from a candle that, once burned, negates Tony's powers. She shot it at Tony, but Qubit redirected it to kill Orian. While Orian was planning to conquer earth the moment Tony was dead, people call Qubit out on this anyway. Except Qubit kept the bullet.
  • Meaningful Name: Scylla and Charybdis, the legendary rock and a hard place; Scylla appears to be every inch the hero, while Cary's descent since Scylla's death shows that he's lost any sense of propriety.
    • Plutonian's name is very meaningful. It means derived or associated with Pluto, Roman god that is Alternate Company Equivalent to the more well known greek called Hades. God of Death and underworld. He's also as distant as can be from humanity in general (like the dwarf planet Pluto.
    • Bette Noire sounds like a fun pulp-style name for an adventuress. In French, it's a colloquialism about a dangerous thing to be avoided at all costs. Bette contributes heavily to Tony's moral decay, but doesn't fully realize it until they visit his Fortress of Solitude.
      • She also has little problem bedding him after he returns.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Done mockingly by The Plutonian in the first issue.

 The Hornet: Puh-please...Not my daughter too...She's only a little girl...

The Plutonian: I know exactly what she is. She's a carbon bag of atoms and bioelectricity.

  • A Million Is a Statistic: Invoked by the Chinese and Japanese leaders when they convinced the acting US President to release Plutonian's parents in an effort to stop him. The procedure would lead to the slow, agonizing death of one third of what remained of the world's population, but would stop the Plutonian from killing the rest.
  • Mood Swinger: The Plutonian's swings from placid to psychotic are a major element of why he's terrifying.
  • Mundane Utility: We see the Plutonian using heat vision to warm a cup of coffee in the third issue.
  • My Greatest Failure: Before he went insane, the Plutonian gave a piece of alien technology to a mudslinging scientist to be adapted for the benefit of mankind, also giving him a signal device to call him in the case that anything could go wrong. The device turned out to contain a sound-based virus that only killed children. The Plutonian might have been able to stop it early on, but he was on the moon, enjoying ten minutes of silence from the constant cries for help that his super-hearing picks up. This not only rocketed him toward his Face Heel Turn, but seemed to affect him even after he became a villain- He still keeps a (rather unsettling) memorial to the victims he failed to help in his Citadel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: See My Greatest Failure for the most obvious of these on the Plutonian's part, though his former teammates have their share too.
    • As of issue 31, Gilgamos gets this by Scylla's ghost after killing Cary. It turns out Cary was the source of the power he and his two brothers (they were actually triplets), and with Cary's death, the third brother Elliott, who Gilgamos thought he'd get all the power, loses his own.
  • Oh Crap: Modeus gets this when he discovers that Plutonian knew he was inhabiting the body of Samasara the entire time.
    • Qubit gets one after learning Twin's/Survivor's dark secret.
    • The Plutonian gets one when he realizes Modeus possessed Cutter.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Plutonian, and how!
  • Person of Mass Destruction
  • Pet the Dog: Even after becoming a crazed, homicidal maniac who kills the world for not appreciating him, when the Plutonian finds out Samsara has survived his lobotomy with his brain functions intact, he at once becomes friendly and protective of his former sidekick again (even getting food for him by murdering owners of gas stations). Naturally, the series still manages to make this terrible as Samsara isn't really back, only being possessed by Modeus.
    • The Plutonian knew it was Modeus all along. He was just playing along because he was amused by Modeus' Foe Yay crush on the Plutonian.
    • The beings Plutonian's parents in issue #31 are seen grief-stricken and building a monument in memory of Qiang, the first man who died as they were released from their prison. Chances are they're much better persons than their son.
  • Physical God: Plutonian is the strongest being on the planet, and nothing in the (comic) universe so far (with the exception of Max Damage and Survivor) has a chance against him. He's a reality warper, making him more god-like, although he's unaware of his true abilities. His parents have his powers to a greater degree and can also Time Travel
  • Playing Against Type: While Mark Waid has done Darker and Edgier stories before (like Empire), Irredeemable is doing a lot to subvert Waid's reputation as Silver Age style writer.
  • Power Nullifier: In the form of a special candle. I'm serious, go read the series.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Vespa. After they capture The Plutonian, they agree to leave Earth and never invade again, simply because of an agreement they'd made with a (now dead) Earth human.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire point. (And, apparently, not just for the Plutonian...)
  • Psychopathic Manchild: One possible interpretation for the Plutonian's need to be loved.
  • Reality Ensues: In a flashback from his early teens, the Plutonian hears his foster mother is about to commit suicide. He gets there in a fraction of a second. But sound takes almost ten seconds to travel two miles. She was already dead before he left his school desk.
  • Reality Warper: Tony, albeit unknowingly.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Played with. Both Cary and his brother Scylla had crushes on Kaidan and she wound up dating Scylla. When Scylla was killed by the Plutonian and Cary left alive, Cary expected this to come into play so he and Kaidan would start dating, especially when he becomes The Survivor. It doesn't. Particularly not when Kaidan discovers Scylla is still alive and begins searching for him. This might be one of the many reasons why Cary is deliberately avoiding finding out where his brother is.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: The Plutonian was going for this, except that his girlfriend became so upset that he had lied to her all this time that she immediately broke up with him. One of the main differences between him and Superman.
  • Rule of Cool: Kaidan's superpower is the art of telling ghost stories. The characters in said stories are souls of samurai and Feudal warriors. It's awesome. She can now summon the spirits of superheroes and open a path through the underworld. Double awesome.
  • Sadistic Choice: During his destruction of Singapore, the Plutonian caught his former teammate Qubit, who tried to evacuate citizens. The Plutonian allowed him to pick ten whom he'd let escape... to painfully illustrate the answer to Qubit's question: "All that power, all that responsibility... what does that feel like?" only to incinerate their flesh with his eye beams.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Nothing quite whittles away at your love of mankind than having to serve them 24/7. The Plutonian suffered a huge case of this before he went nuts, constantly hearing, and feeling he had to answer, calls for help every minute of every day. After one particularly ungrateful victim was rescued, he got fed-up and took a ten minute break by flying to the moon, where there was no sound. During those ten minutes, a child-killing virus broke out, partly because he'd given a piece of alien technology to a human scientist.
    • Even after his Face Heel Turn, there are traces of this. He promised to listen to everyone, but nobody believed he meant that literally.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Max Damage immediately abandons Qubit when he learns that Qubit's master plan for saving the world from the fallout of Plutonian's parents' release involves making the Plutonian even more powerful.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: As of the end of issue #19, the Plutonian after he is defeated by the combined forces of the Vespa, Paradigm, and Kaidan's superhero ghosts. He is currently trapped in a Lotus Eater Machine onboard a Vespa ship.
  • Secret Identity: The Plutonian had one, and upon revealing it to the woman he loved she promptly told their four coworkers and rejected his affection. It was one of the bigger contributing factors to his Face Heel Turn.
  • Shout-Out: Tony's tragic childhood is a one to ~It's a Good Life~. Lampshaded by Hornet.
  • Smug Super: In addition to the rapid walk down a very dark path he seems to be taking, The Survivor is becoming one of these as he's more than a little bit too pleased with himself in recent issues after the pwning he helped give the Plutonian.
    • The Plutonian after his Face Heel Turn. When he became evil, it turned out Tony's false modesty was exactly that.
  • Stepford Smiler: The Plutonian's defining personality trait prior to his breakdown.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Deconstructed. The Plutonian's only real super-power is warping reality and violating the laws of physics. He's as strong as he needs to be because he re-writes the universe to make himself that way.
  • Superpower Lottery: The Plutonian was the clear winner, which led to certain members of the Paradigm resenting him even before his Face Heel Turn. While he acted humble during his time as a hero, he didn't mind gloating once he went evil. At one point, while killing Gazer, Tony remarks how he made him totally redundant, being able to do everything he could do but better.
  • Super Senses: The Plutonian, to a truly insane degree. He can perceive the movement of electrons inside people's brains.
  • Take That: Just to make sure that no one misses the subtext, the first issue comes with a long essay about how comic fans saying mean things on the internet suck and will destroy comic heroes.
    • The essay was written by Grant Morrison, not Mark Waid, and is not quite as simplistic as that. If anything, the subsequent issues since number one have indicated Morrison's reading of the point is a bit off from Waid's true intent.
    • To elaborate, said essay wasn't saying anything about people talking on the Internet destroying heroes. Morrison was talking about people's opinions, the difficulties in changing them, and what a hero must have to do to become completely Irredeemable. And how Waid showed him the script for the first two issues, after their discussion if the internauts will ever stop seeing him as a Silver Age Fan Boy, a reputation Waid earned after Kingdom Come.
  • Technical Pacifist: "Everyone knows Qubit doesn't kill"...
    • He does kill Orian pretty directly, and the fact that he kept the bullet implies that even his technical pacifism has limits.
  • Technopath: Qubits actual power.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Quibit has built several devices that seemingly produce wormholes. The Vespa, having had access to his technology, weaponize them and defeat Plutonian with them. Seemingly out of action as of Plutonian's escape from the prison-planet
  • Throwaway Country: Averted. The destruction of Singapore is shown in full, and is just as horrifying as it should be. And although not shown, the death of tens or hundreds of millions in Australia and India is treated with equal horror.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Charybdis (later the Survivor), a second-tier superhero, gains a considerable boost of power when his brother dies, putting him on the same level as The Plutonian.
  • Unskilled but Strong: While practically a Physical God, the Plutonian turns out to have next to no hand-to-hand combat skill due to never really needing to learn how to fight.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: what Qubit threatens Encanta with to make her reveal what she knows about Modeus.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Walking Wasteland: Minor, background villain Dekay melts everything he touches.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Plutonian, thanks to his pathological need to be loved and admired by everybody, is really bad at handling being called out on his stupid mistakes and dick moves, which finally makes him snap. On the other hand, between Qubit building a bunch of perfect (down to thought patterns) robot replicas of the worst villain ever before the Plutonian's Face Heel Turn, Charybdis's Jumping Off the Slippery Slope after becoming the Survivor, and Bette Noire not revealing she has in her possession probably the only thing that could kill the Plutonian (which she got while cheating on her then-husband-to-be) when she first learned of his rampage, some of the surviving heroes really deserve to be at least verbally bitch-slapped. Bette Noire gets it particularly hard - after escaping alone a trap set up by the US army and a demonic bounty hunter, who revealed her secrets to her teammates, she meets up with her father and, desperate for some kind of support, comes clean with him. He then tells her that her inaction not only cost him everything he had, but also caused the deaths of the rest of their family at the Plutonian's hand. When she asks for forgiveness, he simply says "Not now".
    • Hornet would get one if he was alive. In issue #18, it's been revealed that he gave interstellar teleportation and coordinates to inhabited planets to conquering aliens in exchange for them leaving Earth alone, as well as fighting Plutonian on the off-chance that he turned on humanity.
      • Hornet had reason to believe it wasn't an off-chance. Though everyone knew the broadstrokes of each other's lives, and trusted Tony with their secret identities, Hornet never mentioned his wife's name. Tony name-dropped it anyway, tipping Hornet off that the Plutonian was spying on them all.
        • Even if Hornet had known for certain Plutonian was going to turn on the world, he still bought Earth's safety by selling other inhabited planets to alien conquerors. That's a lot of blood on his hands.
    • The Survivor has caused another. Qubit tries to encourage some victims of the Plutonian's rampage to rebuild their lives, when Survivor comes along to show off and then informs everyone that Qubit saved the Plutonian from a bullet that could have killed him. This leads to everyone abandoning the rebuilding and attacking Qubit.
      • The Survivor has been building one for a while. Kaidan is his brother's widow, and even before the implication that Scylla was still alive, Cary was quick to try to pick her up again.
      • Qubit calls Cary out on giving murderous supervillains full pardons in exchange for help when Cary should be looking for his brother instead.
      • Survivor gives one to his third brother for not trying to stop Plutonian, or even use his powers to help others.
    • It's safe to say that Irredeemable enjoys this trope.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: This seems to be a major factor in the Plutonian's snap into madness. Flashbacks to his life as a hero show him to be very bad at dealing with critics, to the point that he often seemed to resent the people he felt obligated to save. In particular the villains the Plutonian used to fight are much less comfortable dealing with him once they know he has no trouble killing them.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Scylla and Charybdis are have something like this going on, where they're only super while close to one another. Except not really; this is a lie that they used to make Scylla feel better about simply siphoning his brother's power. After Scylla's death, Charybdis only faked being powerless to get to the Plutonian, who he felt he could handle with double his normal power.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: HORRIFYING subversion. Tony mentions why as he was growing up he was ostracized, out of fear he might hurt the other kids, and casually explains that now he's The Unfettered and doesn't have to worry about such things...chucking a grenade at a terrified mass of huddled schoolchildren in what is one of many Moral Event Horizons.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Tony's first human mother and the one whose desire for a child forge him into a human body, to a horrifying extent.
  • You Killed My Father: While the Plutonian needs to die for the safety of Earth and has slaughtered countless people already, the thing that seems to really make it personal for Charybdis/Survivor is that he also killed his brother.

Tropes specific to Incorruptible

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Recap pages all share Max's Wanted Poster which informs us that he is wanted for manslaughter, terrorism, armed robbery, conspiracy and interstate flight.
  • The Atoner: Max Damage after his Heel Face Turn.
  • Badass Normal: Sidekicks Jailbait and Headcase have no superpowers, but they can handle themselves.
  • Blessed with Suck: Max's super-strength and invulnerability increase proportionally to how long he stays awake.
    • However, he is just as susceptible to the downsides of sleep deprivation as the rest of us, and will make poor judgments as a result.
    • He's also vulnerable for up to a full hour after waking up.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: What Max tries to keep his Perky Female Minion Jailbait out of harm's way.
  • Broken Bird: Jailbait; Headcase after plot hits her.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: When former villain Max Damage learns about Dan Hartigan being Plutonian's Secret Identity, he gets mad because he had that "weakling" as a hostage many times and now realizes Tony has been making fun of him all this time.
  • Bullet Seed: Max Damage catches a bullet in his teeth and spits it out, shooting the gun out of a cop's hand thusly.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Headcase learns this the hard way.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Lieutenant Louis Armadale is roped into being Max's reluctant ally.
  • Covers Always Lie: Incorruptible has become extremely guilty of this since Christian Nauck became the main cover artist. See that epic fight scene between Alana and Headcase on the cover of issue 13? Yeah, that's exactly what happens in the comic, just without Alana and Headcase fighting each other, being angry at each other, or having much interaction at all.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not in the sense that it's more pessimistic than Irredeemable (let's face it, how could it be?) but it has a much more 'gritty' tone, with villains modelled on Neo-Nazis and magicians who power their spells with Villainous Incest. Plus, the unfortunate codenames of Max Damage's sidekicks - Jailbait, Headcase, Safeword, Hatecrime - are practically a Running Gag.
  • Deal with the Devil: After a brief dust up caught on film where Plutonian and Max are buried in mine, Max makes a secret deal the Plutonian to leave Coalsville alone under his protection. The details of which haven't been revealed on panel.
  • Death Seeker: Headcase
  • Driven to Suicide: Commissioner Armadale
  • Enemy Mine: After Max runs of the Plutonian out of town and everyone thinks he is the ultimate hero, he enters into one with forces of St. Lucifer and the military forces that intended to take over the only place Plutonian was ever repelled from.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Besides the standard enlightened self interest angle he usually cites, Max seems to have hit this when he saw the Plutonian wipe out an entire city. Keep in mind, Max was on the verge of wiping the city out himself in a fit of depression about the drawbacks of his powers... but seeing the Plutonian actually do it shook him to his core.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: As called on by his friends early in the series, Max starts out his hero career by simply doing the complete opposite of whatever his villain instincts tell him to do, which may not always be the smart thing.
  • Fridge Horror: A mad scientist has a one-use portal that can take one and only one person to another dimension, keyed to a world with absolutely no supers. Max Damage attempts to use it to send his sidekick out of the Plutonian's reach forever, but she mistakes the gesture as a combat maneuver, and throws it at her opponent... a rampaging killbot promptly sucked into that paradise, and now irretrievably stuck there with unsuspecting and defenseless billions.
    • To be fair, the robot seems to be a fairly typical one as weapons go. It doesn't seem to be anything that a rocket launcher couldn't handle. Furthermore, it might be remote controlled and will just shut down when it's there, or at least eventually run out of power. It's not like Max dumped the Plutonian onto our homeworld.
      • Also, going by what happened in the main Irredeemable plotline, that entire world is probably now slated to be conquered by the Vespa on account of being sold out by Hornet along with every other peaceful world Qubit discovered. Which is an entirely different sort of Fridge Horror.
  • Genre Savvy: Max Damage decides to switch sides because he was smart enough to know that the Plutonian turning evil meant there was nobody around to protect the general populace from aliens, demons, and one another. This, coupled with the Plutonian killing millions with no end in sight, meant the human race could die out in a matter of months if someone didn't try to pick up the slack.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: For painfully obvious reasons.
    • This changes, for a while, after he beats the Plutonian
  • Hero with an F In Good: Subverted in that Max is actually doing a pretty good job at doing good, but he has no actual idea how to be good, other than to do the opposite of whatever he did as a villain. This is exactly why he asked Alana to join him.
    • This is also why his friends are wondering how they will tell Max, who heard the whole thing, that the Plutonian has been captured, meaning that Max has little reason now to continue on as a hero.
  • Honor Before Reason: Max Damage destroying most of his villain gear and ill-gotten loot as part of his Heel Face Turn. Resources that would've been invaluable in fighting The Plutonian (the reason for the turn in the first place).
    • He's invoking this trope intentionally, reasoning that he has to be perfect now, but he isn't sure how to do it. It's implied in places that he's not very good at this, as he may have killed another supervillain and definitely handed over some white supremacists over to the people they previously attacked.
    • Another reason he might have done this is because he's Genre Savvy enough to know that nobody would trust him if he still had all his weapons, after seeing that their Big Good turned on them.
    • Also, Fridge Logic points out -- those things might have helped a bit in fighting The Plutonian, but remember that The Plutonian has always been Max's archnemesis, so if there was anything in there that was really capable of hurting him, it would have been used already.
      • Irredeemable makes it pretty clear no one had weapons capable of really hurting The Plutonian.
    • Ultimately, the explanation for this trope is right there in the title. Max has to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin because he knows that if he doesn't do absolutely everything he can to be totally and utterly incorruptible, he'll either backslide or never be good enough to challenge the worst supervillain the world has ever known. Thus all the money and gadgets and vehicles have to go, since in his words it's all "blood money".
  • I Have Your Sidekick
  • The Insomniac: Max Damage's strength and invulnerabilty increase in direct proportion to how long he's been awake. He's a type C as well, as seen when he stays up for days at a time to get strong enough for his next challenge, but is still affected by the mental instability from the lack of sleep. After issue 29, this applies to Alana, too.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Why Max breaks up with Jailbait. With the Plutonian on the rampage, Max is no longer so intimidating that his enemies would leave his girlfriend alone.
    • Also part of his new honorable turn as mentioned above: he refuses to be with her until she turns eighteen, even after she makes it clear she won't leave him despite the danger.
  • Lolicon: Max Damage likes 'em young: he met sidekick/girlfriend Jail Bait in a brothel when she was fifteen and he was 28-30. She's now sixteen, but his Heel Face Turn drove him to break up with her for a Jail Bait Wait.
  • Morality Pet: Max adds Lois Lane and Jim Gordon analogues to his posse to invoke this trope. And boy, does he need it - it is horrifyingly subverted by Jailbait and Headcase, both of whom do their cute girl best to drag Max back down (Jailbait is a sixteen-year-old he saved from sex slavery... who became a bloodthirsty adrenaline junkie and daily begged Max not to keep being heroic, while Headcase is apparently 22 but looks just like Jailbait, and after the murder of her whole family, has become a truly frightening Death Seeker Yandere who would kill anyone that threatens her warped worldview or her relationship to Max).
  • No Sell: Safeword tries her power on the Plutonian. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work (to her credit, she didn't really expect it to, but she figured it was worth a shot.)
  • Noodle Incident: Jailbait's cage match against the Hentai Brothers. Jailbait won.
    • And it was hot.
  • Power Nullifier: Sleep. He is vulnerable for roughly an hour after waking.
  • Redemption Quest: The premise of the series.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Max scribbles equations in marker all over the walls of Alana's house in issue #13 as he tries to construct a plan to defeat the Plutonian.

 Alana: "This is what you feel you can do to other people's homes?"

  • Shooting Superman: Max Damage gets this a lot. Lampshaded when he shouts "That's for wasting ammo!" while punching down a mook who was shooting at him.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Played straight. While Max has a couple moments where he shows genuine concern for others, for the most part, he has no moral compass of his own.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Max is trying to stick to this as part of his Heroic Vow.