Comic Review: Superior

Issue 1
Written by Mark Millar
Drawn by Leinil Francis Yu
Inks by Gerry Alanguilan
Colors by Dave McCaig
Lettering by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Edited by John Barber
Published by Marvel (Icon)
Out now

Simon Pooni has multiple sclerosis, a body that’s rebelling against him and exactly one friend, Chris. Every week they go and see a movie, every week they chat and every week Simon gets a little sicker, a little further away. What matters though is that for two hours he’s somewhere else, transported away from his body and into the film.

Then he meets Ormon, a monkey wearing a spacesuit, who makes him an offer…

Superior is the latest title from Mark Millar, write of Kick-Ass, Nemesis and numerous other titles and, like every Millar comic, it’s surrounded by a corona of hype and bile that resembles nothing more than a circus tent being set alight by an angry crowd who are paying for the privilege of doing so. Millar is a controversial writer, certainly, but this review isn’t about Millar, it’s about Superior and the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s about that moment of escape where pop culture grabs you and holds you and takes you away with it. That’s the moment the circuit closes, the moment everything is a little brighter, the moment the guitars kick in. Everyone has countless variations on that moment and for me, they’ve included President Bartlet’s first appearance in The West Wing, the final line in Daredevil and Liz Lemon rolling her eyes and yelling ‘Son of a MOTHER!;’ Everyone is different, everyone is right.

Simon’s moment comes when he looks at the movie version of Superior (Endearingly, they’re watching Superior 5) and doesn’t see the old fashioned heroics, hackneyed plots and CGI that Chris does. Instead, Simon sees someone who is strong, upright, capable where he’s not, free where he’s restrained. Superior is everything Simon isn’t and everything he desperately wants to be. What happens when he’s given everything he wants and how it affects his world remains to be seen.

Millar’s script is expansive and decompressed but there’s a sense of weight here, as we deftly get Simon and Chris’ friendship, Simon’s past, his relationship with his mother and Superior’s place in the world neatly established. It feels a little like a movie treatment but that’s more in the subject matter than the delivery and Millar takes to this sort of expansive, almost universal storytelling remarkably well. The art team are on top form, Leinil Francis Yu’s sharp, beefy lines expressive, fast but always detailed and with real weight, all neatly grounded by Dave McCaig’s colours.

All in all, Superior looks beautiful, feels confident and assured and is about as good as first issues come. It’s a good story, well told and that’s all that matters when it comes down to it. Well, that and the spacesuited monkey, that’s the icing on the cake.