This book was marketed as “something different”—Millar’s ode to classic super heroes. And so I picked it up with high hopes … but you know what? This is pretty much just more of the same. How does that saying go? “You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig”? My problem with Mark Millar these days is that everything he writes is basically just a script—a pitch, a treatment for a movie. It’s Millar saying “Make me more money, baby,” not “I’m telling a great story, baby.” Why have so many comics gone so far down this cash-seeking pipeline, instead of doing what they SHOULD be doing and what has worked in print for centuries—the method and outcome of simply aiming for good, quality storytelling? I’m sorry, readers, but as of issue one, I’m not confident that this book is going to deliver that. Rather, if you’re looking for cheap, re-hashed ideas and unimaginative writing, this book is indeed for you.
The first issue of what is meant to be Millar and Yu’s creator-owned masterpiece centers around a young boy named Simon who has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. The book opens with Simon and his friend Chris watching a movie about the superhero Superior, whom Simon idolizes. As the two leave the cinema, a group of thugs meets them outside and begins to bully them (where have I seen this before? Hmm… Kick-Ass, I think?). Simon goes home and we learn his back-story in the form of outright narration—that is, we learn the entire essence of what makes this boy tick over a mere couple pages. The “show, don’t tell” golden rule of good writing takes a backseat so that Millar can be lazy and crank out this first issue pretty quickly. The issue in a nutshell: a mysterious monkey in an astronaut suit (quite possibly the only saving grace of this title) does some magic voodoo what’s-it and transforms Simon into Superior for reasons as yet unknown—costume, appearance, powers and all. The issue ends with Simon floating outside of Chris’ window, seeking help. It’s 1988 again and we’re watching Big, apparently.
Aside from the monkey, the only other good thing about this comic is Leinil Yu’s artwork. He is absolutely on his game here, and it couldn’t look more lovely or tell the tale any more effectively.
Will I keep reading this? Without a doubt. I want to see if it gets any better, any less maladroit, and any more interesting. Millar’s got me at least until the end of the first arc. As it currently stands—not particularly impressed. Maybe the inevitable movie version will be better.
Publisher: Marvel Comics (ICON Imprint)
Written by Mark Millar
Penciled by Francis Leinil Yu
Inked by Gerry Alanguilan
Colored by Dave McCaig
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles