Comic Mini-series by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu, published by Icon
Superior is a creator-owned comic book series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu. It is published by Marvel Comics under the company's Icon imprint. A new hero from Marvel; … see full wiki
“Not everyone can grasp the awesomeness of a comic book…” - Quoted from the TV show “ComicBook Men”
Mark Millar had been the headline for Icon publishing (a division of Marvel comics) with his “Millarworld” section. The man had created some of the most innovative titles in comics such as “Kick Ass” and let us not forget his dark, gritty, mean update to the Avengers “The Ultimates”. I always pick up most of his titles because they always have the guts that many comic book writers seemed to have been holding back on especially when one is writing for DC.
Well, Millar has created something that is more of a homage to established characters with his usual style and ‘spunk’. “Superior” is another of Millar’s creation with artist Leinil Yu (Secret Invasion) that is all homage to the stuff he probably is a fan boy of, and it is a tribute to Christopher Reeve; the man who made moviegoers believe that a man could fly.
Simon Pooni is a young boy suffering from multiple sclerosis. He had a normal active life before he became sick, and so this condition had really affected his emotions, he had become a little bitter with his life. His only contact with normalcy is his best friend Chris and the movie series “Superior” that stars Tad Scott, one of Hollywood’s hottest names. But one day, Simon finds himself in the body his comic-movie hero, Superior, with all the incredible powers that one can only dream of, and he looks like Tad Scott. His new state of being had been granted to him by a creature called Ormon who looked like a character from the movie. This change had made Simon a happier boy, and now using his new found abilities, Simon is set to put an end to worldwide strife and war. Superior had attracted the attention of the entire planet including a busty female reporter named Madeline Knox. But, Simon should remember, when things are just too good to be true, it usually is not.
An homage to Superman, references to Thor, even Shazam! even that Filipino movie “Super-Islaw“, (not sure if he realized this), inspiration from Japanese anime, “Superior” is a 7-issue mini series that is a fan boy’s dream. I mean, as a kid, we’ve all run around with a blanket to play a superhero, Millar goes into the mind of a young boy, and he does a study of the mental state of such a boy when stricken with Sclerosis, how the real world would react to such a being, and how dreams can turn into nightmares.
The story of the mini series is very simple. Admittedly, some parts of the story appeared standard, as with a being granting someone powers but comes with a price. I suppose what Millar does well with the comic book is the way he manages to have its characters drive the story. This is all from Simon Pooni’s character; each nemesis, each admirer, each reaction comes from his actions. I was very amused how Millar wrote the series, and the first issues were all the reactions of a kid. Pooni along with Chris, experiments with his new found powers. These powers are more or less influenced by Superman, since after all, his powers are more relatable to kids everywhere. I was very amused as Simon made mistakes, and how he was so confused to know if he was either the movie or comic book version of Superior.
Millar does a lot with subtle humor. Simon’s reactions were truly that of a young boy; naïve, optimistic, and so hungry for attention, that he forgot all about his parents and even used his powers for personal interests (I mean playing in a rock band and basketball again was all about his being Simon). But, despite his bumbling behavior, Simon also does a lot of good for the world as he still knew that he had a responsibility. Millar added real world events to his story, as with the current crisis with the Taliban and even President Obama made an appearance in these pages.
Millar knew how to write his characters and each one had their own role in the series. Madeline Knox may have been inspired by Lois Lane, but she was far from being ‘taken’ by Superior’s charms. She was a strong woman who wanted to get a story and would do anything to get it--even have sex with a superhero. The scene where she waited in her balcony while wearing a revealing red dress was reminiscent of the movie “Superman” that made me snicker. It felt so real and relatable, Knox was no damsel in distress though she played that part as a homage to Byrne’s “Man of Steel” comic series. Knox was a woman who played more of a significance to Simon’s character than being just your usual sexy reporter. She had several dimensions that made her character much more heroic than Lois Lane. Tad Scott was also a character that played a part in the premise. He was an actor who went down after Superior had appeared and no producer would touch him unless they knew for sure that there would be no legal consequences. I loved the way Scott did something right for a change; and showed the world that he was no mere ‘actor’.
As with any hero, one has to have a nemesis. This enemy had to come from the “Superior” movies in Simon’s time which comes in the form of a childhood bully nicknamed “Sharpie”. Superior’s greatest foes come in the form of his movie enemies. The designs by Leinil Yu have the look and feel of video games and anime. The Annihilator from the movie Superior Two and Five is very bad ass. The art made him look huge, nasty and mean while Sharpie’s villain character looked like a character from “Halo” blended in with mecha anime. Yu’s designs were spot on and I loved the battle sequences. The details were really there, as the battle happened in a huge city--ships were thrown, buildings were toppled--a lot of mayhem and destruction. The battle scenes were executed in big panels to express its intensity. Yu’s art made the stakes seem much higher as Superior threw down with his greatest foes.
I was also impressed how he wrote in the dialogue to say a lot about each character. The script and dialogue had a lot of profanity to express intensity and each individual’s characteristics; it wasn’t used to look ‘cool’ but meant to express realism. The comic covers all have some great punch lines that grabbed my attention. Millar showed a lot of class in the last scene of issue 7. His intentions were definitely articulated as he defined heroism.
“Superior” does have a rough spot and an area of weakness. I cannot discuss this without discussing a major plot point, but I wasn’t too keen with the Ormon character. I loved the twist at the end, but the motivations felt a little contrived. Nonetheless, Millar and Yu had created another comic blockbuster. I liked Millar’s creations since the way he writes almost reflects how I want to read a comic book. He is truly a fan at heart.
Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars] As with Millar, I dedicate this review to Christopher Reeve and to Real Comic Book fans everywhere.
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