Or – “It’s Pronounced Exactly The Same As Frank Miller…”

Three words: Edgy Captain Marvel.

With that premise, I think you’re either immediately in, or immediately out.

Writer: Mark Millar
Penciler: Leinil Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: V.C.’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Nicole Boose
Publisher: Icon/Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Superior: Simon was a normal teenager when his disease made itself known.  Within a few months, Multiple Sclerosis had denied him the use of most of his legs, his promising basketball career, and nearly all of his friends.  After a viewing of his favorite superhero movie, Simon somehow found himself face to face with a talking monkey (in a spacesuit, strangely enough) who offered him one wish.  When the smoke cleared, Simon had been transformed into Superior, greatest superhero of them all, and begins using his powers in particularly dangerous and foolhardy ways.  After enforcing American foreign policy with his fists, Simon makes the mistake of threatening a school bully to protect his only friend, and then things got a little bit weird…


I have to say, I entered this book worried.  The cover shows Superior at the head of a squadron of American fighter planes, and I was prepared for a Millar “America $&@$, YEAH!” rant (See Ultimate Captain America) that would leave me irritated and snarky for the entire review.  What I got… was surprising.

The first half of the issue has Superior in action in the Middle East, but it’s much more entertaining than I gave the story hook credit for.  Superior uses his powers to dismantle Taliban cells without a single casualty.  The dialogue is some of the best parts, as Simon the boy tries hard to keep up the front of Superior, but keeps slipping.  When told that the military has completely evacuated a city on his orders, Simon can’t help but look amazed.  “That’s awesome!”  Heh…  As the issue plays out, we see Superior crossing the globe, and not only is the story a kinder, gentler Mark Millar, but Leinil Yu delivers a much less jarring experience than his work on New Avengers a few years ago.  After assisting with relief efforts, the President asks if there’s anything that Superior wants, leading to a very amusing sequence where we see the President’s reaction to what Superior asks for, immediately cutting to a panel where he asks, “Are you SERIOUS?”


Last issue ended with a cliff-hanger involving Sharpie, the bully that Superior threatened in a previous issue, being offered powers of his own by the mysterious “space-monkey.”  We get a quick check-in with him, teasing something more conventionally super-heroey in the near future, and then we get a fun montage of Superior batting for the Mets, playing bass with his favorite band (although the art clearly shows a guitar) and even beating the Miami Heat on the court.  I have to say that the issue is tonally appropriate for a young teenage boy, and when Superior shows up at the apartment of a celebrity journalist, it seems like an intentional reference the 1977 Superman movie.  Things take a turn for the ugly, as the monkey appears to interrupt his date, and ends the issue with a shocking reveal AND a big cliffhanger.  Even thought the monkey’s nature was revealed last time, it’s still a nice “Dun DUN DAAAH!” moment to wrap up the issue.


This issue reminds me of the Mark Millar I always love, the ‘Black Flash’ Mark Millar, the first 3 issues of ‘Wanted’ Mark Millar, even the Mark Millar who made Kick-Ass such a wonderful examination of superheroes in the real world.  (Kick-Ass 2, on the other hand, feels like an unnecessary Hollywood sequel, but that’s another review.)  This issue is fun, it’s kind of retro (Superior makes a point of explaining that he doesn’t kill) and it’s an interesting inversion of what happened to Dave Lizewski in Kick-Ass.  The coloring is the only real sadness here, taking some solid Yu artwork and draping it in drab red-and-earth-tone coloring that removes some of the story’s impact.  Still, Superior #1 was a fine diversion, a book that does a lot right even in the face of my low expectations, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Between this and Superior, I’m starting to realize that maybe my preconceptions are keeping me from reading books that I would really enjoy.  (Does this mean I should pick up an issue of “Tales From Wonderland”?)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Which writers give you the “Jekyll & Hyde” experience with their work?


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. October 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    Hm. That does sound like a pretty interesting book; I’m generally a little leery of Mark Millar (though I did love Red Son, Russian-hatted Batman included), but this sounds like a title I would enjoy!

  2. Noobian74
    October 7, 2011 at 8:36 am — Reply

    Jeff Loeb. Loved his run on Superman/Batman. “Public Enemies” was a gret story arc. Hated nearly every issue of his Hulk run. Still pissed that the Red Hulk beat Thor and sucker-punched The Watcher. C’mon!

  3. October 7, 2011 at 8:53 am — Reply

    Hmmm…you know, it sounds interesting, but I’m kind of tired of the premise at this point. “How about we take a shiny, happy superhero and make him more REEEEAAAALLLL [gritty]?”

    Millar’s done that with just about every book he’s written. I remember saying, when Irredeemable came out, “Hey, isn’t this ‘bad Superman’ concept a lot like Red Son?” without even realizing that Millar wrote Red Son.

    I may have to give it a pass and come back to it in a few years.

    • Noobian74
      October 13, 2011 at 10:46 am — Reply

      Chris , in Millar’s defense, this is actually a little different than his usual. Yeah, it has a Captain Marvel-esque feel about it, but there’s more of a child-like innocence to it, too. Give it a try.

      • October 24, 2011 at 11:52 am — Reply

        Eh, I go through cycles where I get sick of something and then I come back to it years later. It’s better for me and usually better for my appreciation of the material. I may look at something one day and be totally turned off on it, but coming back to it years later I’m able to appreciate it on its face. Not saying I’m banning the idea of ever reading this. Just saying I’m not rushing it.

  4. Kevin
    October 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    Edgier Captain Marvel? Didn’t Alan Moore do that? Still, a hero who doesn’t kill is refreshing. I may have to give it a look.

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