Writer: Mark Waid | Artist: Horatio Domingues & Marcio Takara
Reformed supervillain Max Damage, and his sidekick Jailbait, travel to the ruins of Sky City. A vicious gang of Plutonian-worshipping white supremacists are wreaking havoc on the survivors and ruling with no mercy. But there’s one thing they didn't count on... Max Damage. The key to victory may lie in the hands of Alana Patel, Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend. But how will Max ally himself with Alana when she hasn’t come close to forgetting about Max kidnapping and torturing her in his days as a villain?
This collection delves a little more into Max’s past as a villain, and some of the evil stuff he did in his fight against the Plutonian. In this story, that past comes back to bite him, as his action unintentionally revealed his weaknesses, which have made their way into the wrong hands. Another great book in the series, I can’t recommend it – or anything by Mark Waid, actually – enough.
[NB: A few minor spoilers feature after the break, but if you want to know more about the book, then keep reading.]
There’s a whole new dynamic, now, between Max and Jailbait – the original Jailbait, who was sixteen, has been replaced by an equally troubled young lady, Annie. Annie, however, is not coming from a life of crime, but one destroyed by crime. This fits better with Max’s reformed character, but she’s still a burden for him – due to a promise he made after she saved his life, he now has someone else he must look after.
The look back at Max’s past also reveals more of the original Jailbait’s devotion to Max, as well as the lengths she would go to please him and help him. It’s pretty dark stuff, and makes this a far more complicated read than one might expect from a ‘standard’ reformed-villain story. Normally, the new hero tends to not have been quite that bad – a minor hoodlum or something – but Max was 100% bad, and in some instances evil. It makes our connection with him as a hero a little tenuous, as revelations from his past can set back any sympathy or respect we might be developing for him. It does also lead to some pretty funny lines, which are delightfully twisted and subversive.
There are a few surprises for Max and Jailbait. They discover the true scope of the Plutonian-worshipping white supremacist group, and their insane plan (just wait ‘til you finish Chapter 10…). It’s quite ingenious, and again Max’s past comes back to haunt him. Max makes some more progress towards figuring out how to be a good guy, gaining another member for his motley team. All his new friends and allies are great, and it’s easy to grow very fond of them (particularly “Headcase”, as his sidekick is re-christened).
In this volume, the artwork is split between two artists – Chapters 9 and 10 were drawn by Horatio Domingues, who also handled the art for Volume Two; Chapters 11 and 12 were drawn by Marcio Takara. They’re both talented artists, with distinctive styles that complement Waid’s writing very well. We get more full-page set-pieces, and the variety adds to the reading experience. It’s a book that is pleasing on the eye as well as the imagination. Again, a great book.
I really like this series. Highly recommended. Waid is a genius.