I have already stopped reading Incorruptible a couple of story arcs ago (reasons below), but recently picked up issues 21 to 23 because the current issue of Irredeemable showed that The Plutonian, in his current state as a villain, had a confrontation with the newly reformed Max Damage in the spin-off.
A Max-Tony throwdown is exactly what I was waiting for when I started following Incorruptible; to see how Max will fare against the Plutonian if the latter is no longer held back by a moral code, and how he fits in with the continuity present in Irredeemable, pear-shaped as it is. Issues 21-23 of Incorruptible scratched the first itch, but the second one only reminded me why I dropped the title in the first place.
As for the fight itself, we get to see The Plutonian hunt Max Damage down when he found out that Alana’s been hanging out with the former villain. Of course, Max and Alana had already split up several issues ago after the Lois Lane proxy accidentally spilled Max’s secret weakness to his enemies, which led to him being captured and tortured (only to be saved by the original Jailbait).
The scuffle between Max and Tony will remind you of classic hero VS hero stories from the silver age, wherein you don’t really get to see a real fight because it was caused by a misunderstanding and/or one of the participants was holding back. It ended with the Plutonian leaving Coal City alone after Max uttered a phrase that was obscured from the readers (possibly a future plot device). We get to see that Max can stand up to the Plutonian now: a result of being awake for several days (and possibly a powerup, as hinted by the Plutonian), but it’s obvious that the fight would still go to Tony if it dragged on.
Now, my problem with the fight, and Incorruptible itself, is that it’s pretty much self-contained, and has no tangible bearing on whatever is happening in Irredeemable. Whereas Irredeemable has been twisted several ways to Sunday, Max and his city still feels like it’s in a reality that doesn’t have a rogue god rampaging all over the world. Waid has tried his best to tie the spinoff back to the original series that spawned it, but it feels shallow and trifling – the only significant tie it has is the fact that Max reformed because of the Plutonian’s heel turn (which is already a stretch, in my opinion).
There is hope, though. Waid has confirmed that Max will play a part in wrapping up The Plutonian’s story, and the mystery phrase that Max used to convince Tony to leave him alone is an indication that there’s still something that we still need to know. But until then, Irredeemable is the only title I’m going to follow.