Way back in 2012, I drew up a list of the Top 10 Comics That Should Be Made Into Movies. And firmly occupying the 2nd spot behind Marvel’s Iron Fist – which is now being adapted as a Netflix series by the comic book film studio, so that’s already one prognosticating feather in my cap – was Mark Waid’s Eisner Award-winning Irredeemable. And it’s my definitive opinion that while being published between 2009 and 2012 by Boom!, Irredeemable simply put to shame any pure superhero tale the Big Two – Marvel and DC – were putting out. And now it’s going to get the opportunity to do that again on the big screen.
Deadline are reporting that 20th Century Fox have picked up the film rights to the original comic book tale, and are already making some rapid moves to get the development ball rolling. The studio has tapped Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow 1 & 2, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) to adapt Waid’s sprawling and dramatic epic, with Adam McKay – fresh from winning an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Big Short, which he also helmed – being picked to direct.
This is of course not McKay’s first comic book movie rodeo, as he was briefly going to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man after Edgar Wright famously departed the production. He would eventually hand over the directing reins to Peyton Reed, but still hung around to co-write a new draft of the script, and is also co-writing the film’s sequel along with star Paul Rudd. McKay is undeniably talented, but he is primarily known for his comedic tendencies – he even turned something as upsettingly depressing like the 2008 US financial market crash into an incredibly fun romp – so I’m not sure how good a fit he is for the dark Irredeemable. And trust me, it gets dark.
Since I’m lazy, here’s the blurb I wrote up for my 2012 article explaining what Irredeemable is actually about.
The Plutonian is the greatest hero Earth has even known. Not only is he kind, honest and a shining example of what we can all strive to be, but as the most powerful being on the planet, he is a one-man deterrent for criminals, superpowered or normal, everywhere. But the Plutonian has a secret. A secret that the world and his superhero teammates unfortunately only discover when he eventually snaps, becoming the biggest mass murderer in history as he slaughters millions of people overnight and sinks whole countries to the bottom of the ocean.
Now it’s up to his former teammates, The Paradigm, to discover exactly what turned the world’s greatest hero into its greatest villain, and they have to do it while the Plutonian uses his godlike abilities to hunt them down one by one.
Waid – who probably knows DC’s Superman like no other comic book writer living today – created Irredeemable with artist Peter Krause as a sort of metaphorical, incredibly well thought out study of what an almost godlike Superman-type hero would actually be like, and what would happen should he snap one day. It’s fantastically written – Waid even digs deep into exactly how these Superman-type powers could actually work – and often times grueling and dramatic to read, filled with a huge cast of equally memorable characters and one of the most emotionally poignant meta-endings in recent comic book history (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it).
It also spawned a spinoff sister-book, titled Incorruptible, which followed Max Damage, previously the world’s most infamous villain, who in the wake of the Plutononian going bad decides to step up to the plate and do some good in the world – only because he’s one of the few powerful enough to stand up to the Plutonian. And according to Deadline’s report it looks like Max Damage’s storyline might just folded into this one, as they indicate that “in Clarice-Hannibal Lecter fashion, the Paradigm in desperation turns to a famous supervillain for help; it might be the only way to stop the carnage”.
Fox’s X-Men franchise may still be going strong – especially with the recent Deadpool injection – but it was looking dire for a while there. And don’t even get me started on how many times they’ve fumbled the ball on Fantastic Four. But if they can pull this off, I will be willing to forgive them just about anything. Yes, even for X-Men: The Last Stand. I’ve read both Irredeemable and Incorruptible multiple times since they ended their publishing runs, and it’s definitely one of my favourite comic book stories of all time. So to say that I’m excited for this, especially with the level of talent involved, is the very definition of an understatement.
Last Updated: May 6, 2016