The bulk of this issue is spent conventionally, with a good ol’ superhero smackdown. Orian, Survivor, and Gil must subdue the Plutonian so that Bette Noir can magically fire her Plutonian-killer bullet and redeem herself while finally saving the day! Waid is presenting classic superheroics sincerely, but it’s mostly just a mask for the unconventional, gut-punch of a conclusion.
The aforementioned superheroics are also meant as an opportunity for David Barreto to show off. His work is definitely reminiscent of the Bronze Age, which captures the correct tone. Unfortunately, Barreto remains a fairly generic artist, with only the occasional dynamic layout hinting at greatness. Though the art ably accomplishes Waid’s intentions, it’s ultimately pedestrian.
Waid, however, continues to produce brilliant scripts, as evidenced by this issue’s conclusion. Numerous betrayals occur, new threats emerge, and two players meet their maker, though not in that literal Grant Morrison way. Nearly every character is monumentally changed. This is one of Irredeemable’s strongest issues in recent memory.