The iFanboy Letter Column – 06/05/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means movie night. For others, Friday means pure unbridled hedonism. For some, it’s both.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming –

After listening to the podcast for the last couple of years, I’ve been wondering, do you think the fact that you guys are so involved in comics has lessened, not your love of comics, but your enjoyment of them? I get to read my comics at my own pace. I don’t have to sit down and write a review immediately after. I don’t have to analyze anything other than, was this fun or not. I think if I were in your shoes it would be pretty easy for me become more critical, which in turn would change the way I read them.

Gary L. from Austin, Texas

We get this questions every once in a while, and every once in a while, I like to answer it. When I interviewed Geoff Johns, I asked him if he was annoying to watch TV with, because I am. I loved his answer, because he said that if you were an architect, you would scrutinize how a house was built much more than anyone else who walked in, and I think that’s true. It’s my mindset. I’m constantly analyzing story and character and what works and what doesn’t. It’s what I do. It’s second nature. It probably has more to do with who I am than what I do. That is to say, I thought critically about things like story long before I did these podcasts, or even this site. I went to school for it. My mother can’t watch TV or a movie with me in the room, because I’m constantly analyzing what’s happening and why. It’s a wonder that my wife has gotten used to it, and will discuss it with me. She does hate when I call out the events of something before they happen. (I’ve gotten pretty good.) I mean, sure I could complain that I don’t want to read 12 comics in a row on a Wednesday while simultaneously trying to keep good content on the site, taking care of our baby, and possibly finding time to eat, but this is my job. I chose this. It’s a hell of a lot better than ditch digging, and it’s certainly worth the trade off.

I’ll tell you what I’ve gained from it though. By learning to think critically, and really digging into what I like and what I don’t like and why, when I end up liking something, I really appreciate it. A good story, portrayed correctly in its medium is a thing of beauty, and something to be cherished. I love that discovery.And occasionally, I’ll be surprised, and it’s the best feeling in the world to be immersed in expertly crafted art, and it can happen at any time. Maybe it makes me a little more picky, but I already was. I just have better practice at articulating it these days.

It’s funny, because I don’t know what I consider myself. I hate the term critic. I guess I’m a reviewer. But I mostly study these things and like to talk about what seems to work, and what elicits responses and why. I’m also a writer, but it all seems to work together. In order to write, you have to read, and to do either of those, you have to understand. I made my interest into my career. It’s really up to me to make sure I don’t burn out on it.

And that’s why I drop books at a furious pace!

Josh Flanagan

I was just wondering which of the superhero gone bad books you guys think is best. Incorruptible, Irredeemable, or The Mighty? I’m fairly sure you guys like all these books. But if you had to order 1 to 3 how would it go?

Josh from Las Vegas, Nevada

Well Josh, I have to correct you slightly before I answer your question. Incorruptible isn’t about a superhero gone bad, it’s about a supervillain gone good (in reaction to the superhero gone bad in Irredeemable).

Before I get any further into this question I want to point out that I am a big fan of all three of these books. They are among my favorites of the last few years.

Also, while I’m not normally against ranking things I have to admit that this question made me wince a bit when I first read it because I like both of these books so much. It would be like asking me to rank Josh and Ron (It’s Gordon).

That being said I think that The Mighty edges out Irredeemable (again, I love Irredeemable). I think this for two reasons. One, the two artists who drew The Mighty — Peter Snejbjerg and Chris Samnee — are just spectacular. That’s no knock on Irredeemable artist Peter Krause (who I missed very much in this latest issue and has totally defined the look and feel of that book), but The Mighty was one of the best looking books of 2009. The second reason I would choose The Mighty is that I really enjoyed the structure of the series. I liked that the book was almost halfway through before we really knew what was going on. It’s not often these days that a book will suck you in like that when you aren’t exactly sure where it’s leading and you’re really uneasy about it. I also liked that it was a complete story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In that sense the story was immensely satisfying.

So if I had to rank them it would be…

1. The Mighty
2. Irredeemable
3. Incorruptible

But they’re all great books that I urge everyone to check out.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. I agree with Conor’s assessment of The Mighty and Irredeemable.  Both are very good, but The Mighty is slightly better.  However, I haven’t read a page of Incorruptible.  Does it contribute significantly to (or depend heavily on) the Irredeemable story or is it more stand alone?

  2. Incorruptible takes place in the same universe as Irredeemable but features an entirely different cast of characters (the Plutonian is more of a shadow over the world of Incorruptible than a player in it so far). 

  3. @bansidhewail – Interesting.  Thank you.  I may pick it up.

  4. Great answer Josh. I think it’s important to really look at what we are reading more closely now more than ever, concidering the state the industry is in.

  5. One thing that I find, being in that constant "analysis" mode that Josh mentions is that I actually LIKE things more than a lot of people. I suspect I’m not like many other writers/critical thinkers in that regard, but what I mean is this: when I’m looking at the craft of a story, I can often see what the writers was TRYING to do, and I empathize. It’s maybe like seeing a diamond in the rough. Or, I can be moved by ONE great scene in an otherwise unremarkable story. Sometimes it’s personal; I can like a flawed story because it still provides inspiration.

  6. I thought the Mighty was better than Irredeemable, mostly becaase the Krause art was just average, especially when compared to Samnee.  Parts of Irredeemable seemed forced, or over the top.  Looking forward to picking up the first trade of Incorruptible.

  7. The Mighty also was not about a superhero gone bad.

  8. @JumpingJupiter: Yes it was. To those around him he went from good to bad, even if he wasn’t always good to begin with. The same overly specific logic could be applied to IRREDEEMABLE where Plutonian was always a little crazy/evil.

  9. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Topical! Now we have to add Arcudi and Snejbjerg’s A GOD SOMEWHERE OGN to the superhero gone bad genre.

    If only there were a review available to…

    WAIT! There is!

  10. @Conor: I guess so. Alpha One did have an evil agenda outright though… anyway, I’m splitting hairs.

  11. here’s what i have in terms of superhero gone bad stories:

    Miracle Man (Kid Miracle Man counts, right?)

    the dark pheonix saga

    the golden age (Dynaman is a bad dude)

    Armageddon 2001

    Under the Hood

    i dunno, there’s got to be more


  12. I loved Irredeemable, but have yet to read The Mighty. Keep meaning to though… Ironically, I was initially more excited about it.

  13.  @edward

    ****Possible spoilers for Watchmen****

    Don’t forget about Watchmen

    ****End possible spoilers for Watchmen****

    Bill Willingham of Fables wrote a 13-issue B&W series called PANTHEON which is about a superhero named Daedalus who tries to take over the world.  His former teammates, the Freedom Machine, assemble to try and stop him.  Hard-to-find book, but worth it.  I would say that Irredeemable and Pantheon have a very similar feel to them.  The first half of Pantheon has been colored and released in trade, and the second half should be released…someday.  (Willingham won’t respond to my tweets.)

    The first Irredeemble trade just barely moved my needle enough to read the second one, and the second one blew me away.  Haven’t read The Mighty or Incorruptible, but it’s on my list.

  14. The Sentry.

  15. Who?

  16. Her?

  17. yeah, watchmen isn’t really about characters being purely good or evil. there’s the whole morality question behind each character’s actions

  18. @edward That’s besides the point, there was a superhero who "went bad", (at least as much as Alpha One did in the Mighty) it’s definitely not all that Watchmen is about though.

  19. I really think Irredeemable is an amazing book in trade. I wish I could catch it up in issues, but for now the first two trades are fantastic. The Mighty was good, but not great. Too slow for my tastes. Although it does sound like once the mystery is revealed for the hero (like the article says: after the first trade) it becomes an even better comic. For now I would definitely say Irredeemable is the landslide winner.

  20. @gobo: really? ozymandias saved the world didn’t he? i don’t consider him the villian of watchmen, i consider him the antagonist

  21. Murdering a million people makes someone a villain in most people’s eyes.

  22. america drop two nuclear bombs on japan to stop WW2 and save people’s lives. how’s that different?

  23. New York didn’t bomb Ozymandias Harbor and Ozymandias hadn’t declared war on New York.

  24. nice

  25. I got my LCS guy to read the first Mighty trade He loved it and then sold like 5 more copies of the trade just because he was able to tell people about it.