The Simon Cowell of comics strikes again….

Published On October 25, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Superior Issue 1

By Mark Millar and Leinil Yu.

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Last week I praised at least a partial return to form for Brian Michael Bendis with Scarlet. And today, it’s Mark Millar’s turn for review. But sadly, not his turn for a return to form. Not with this flabby, far too short, far too lightweight superman comic.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, there’s very little of Millar’s work that even begins to show the promise seen in his magnificent The Ultimates series from Marvel. Full of spectacular widescreen superheroics, albeit part of that subgenre of cynical, pessimistic, revisionist superheroes that has led to many of the worst books around today. The Ultimates may have it’s faults and it’s detractors, but it’s still one of my favourite superhero books of the last decade or so.

But since that high watermark, it’s been hype over content every time and everything Millar’s done since feels lightweight by comparison, complacent, with a writer secure in the knowledge that he’s capable of writing in the zeitgeist, turning a mediocre or bad comic into a hugely successful marketing and crossover product.

Undoubtedly Millar’s work is hugely popular, sells incredibly well and is practically a guarantee of future film and merchandise revenue. But you could equally make that statement to describe Simon Cowell and the X-Factor and there surely aren’t that many people who would attempt to defend SyCo and his show as wonderful music.

I didn’t like Kick Ass, didn’t even try Nemesis (although Michael did enjoy it with certain reservations) and just can’t get that excited about him at all. I’m sure he couldn’t give a flying whatnot about my opinion, but for what it’s worth…..

(Oh yes, it’s for real. In fact, it’s so real I imagine that the movie deal is already done. From Superior issue 1 by Millar and Yu, Marvel Comics.)

Superior: 24 pages, 5 minutes of reading and it barely says anything. Simon Pooni’s young life coping with Multiple Sclerosis gets a quick run through, and Millar throws in a bit of bullying just to make sure we get the point. Then a magical monkey turns up, grants him a magic wish and all of a sudden he’s transformed into his movie superhero idol Superior.

And that’s it. That’s the¬†entirety¬†of this first issue. Thin doesn’t even get close to the experience. There’s really nothing here, and certainly nothing that hasn’t been done before. It’s dull, pointless, uninteresting stuff.

The art is nice enough, but with the average number of panels on a page just under 3.5, it’s less sequential art and more disconnected, fractured pictures that create very little feeling of the story flowing through the panels.

(An origin tale and healing the sick in one thin comic. From Superior issue 1 by Millar and Yu, Marvel Comics.)

So why the hell did I pick it up? Masochism perhaps? Or simply a case of it being there on the shelf at Nostalgia & Comics when I popped in on my way to BICS, the only 1st issue in that week’s releases that I could see on a quick scan.

My guilt at not keeping up with new comics occasionaly persuades me to do this, just to (vainly) attempt to take some sort of pulse of big company comics at the moment. Guilt assuaged, I shant be going back to Millar for a LONG time. Not until someone puts a book in front of me, like Michael did with Scarlet and Bendis, and tells me this is even a fraction as good as Millar’s highpoint with The Ultimates.

Superior issue 2 is out in November.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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