By: Mark Millar (writer/creator), Leinil Yu (pencils/creator), Gerry Alanguilan, Jason Paz & Jeff Huet (inks), Sunny Gho & Javier Tartaglia (colors), Clayton Cowles (letters) & Cory Levine (editor)
The Story: The cute reporter gets into the Superior game and the big bad villain is revealed (kinda).
What’s Good: I’ve enjoyed Superior and this is issue 4 out of 6, so it is naturally going to be a transitional issue. If you understand that going in, you’ll be fine with the story as Millar and Yu are mostly moving the pieces around so that they can wrap up the story. It is enlightening to see who and what the creators think are important. There is a huge focus on the reporter, Maddie, who goes to great lengths to finally meet Superior. But, I was a little surprised that our focus also drifted towards Simon/Superior’s parents and the actor who played Superior in the movies. I honestly don’t know what role those folks are going to play, but I’m sure that Millar has something up his sleeve.
One very cool moment in this issue revolved around a role reversal between Simon/Superior and his buddy Chris. If you remember back to the first issue of the series, Chris was the ONLY friend who stuck by Simon when he was wheelchair bound by disease and actively took up for Simon when the other kids teased him. Here we get to see Simon/Superior return the favor when Chris runs into the neighborhood bullies. One thing that I love about Simon/Superior is that he is super NICE. Most stories where a young person gets power/fame/money have an obligatory portion of the story where they crap all over their friends and fall in with a bad crowd. Sooooo glad that we aren’t forced to see that, but Millar is too good of a storyteller to go down that path.
And, the kinda shocking part of this issue happens right at the end when the space monkey shows back up. Last issue there was an allusion that Simon may have unwittingly made a Faustian bargain to get his powers. Here the monkey makes an offer to the head bully and it just reinforces that notion. Of course, in true Millar fashion, he doesn’t beat around the bush by calling the source of power some vague “supreme evil” or anything like that. He just goes for the “S”-word and in so doing will get his comic banned from Sunday School. That’s kinda what I love about Millar: He is willing to push the envelope in his stories. It doesn’t always work, but you don’t do new and exciting things by playing it safe.
The art is mostly a plus for me. I love Yu’s layouts. He always manages to put the viewer’s eye right where they need to be to appreciate that scene. That’s really a gift that you appreciate when you see other comics doing it wrong. Put this skill in the category of “harder than it looks” and “underappreciated”. There are also huge kudos for the design of Superior himself. I love that he’s drawn as a big, muscular dude who is wearing a uniform versus a nude man without genitals who just has a costume added by the colorist. It’s also more work to do it that way because I’m sure that the rough layout had a basic human form onto which the costume is drawn.
What’s Not So Good: I’m not loving the reporter angle. I do understand and appreciate that Millar keeps movie rights in his mind when he writes these stories. He’d be nuts not to when comic sales (especially creator-owned comic sales) are in the crapper. But, the only reason I can see for the reporter is that she is a role for some Hollywood starlet to step into. She’ll clearly have something to do, but I don’t care about her character nearly as much as Simon or Chris.
I also have a few quibbles with the art (keeping in mind that I mostly LIKE the art). For one thing, it looks like an issue that had 3 inkers and two colorists. This is sometimes the price you pay for having an issue come out relatively on time. I’m not sure that there is a correct answer to the rushed art/multiple inkers vs. on-time release schedule. It IS a conundrum for the creators, but I’m just pointing out the choice they made. There are also a few scenes where I can’t figure out where the light source is located. One example is when the reporter is in about to crash her car and she has this inked shadow on top of the tip of her nose and on the left side of her nose (which would indicate a light source below and to the right) yet the colored shading indicates a light source somewhere else (above and to the left). Noses seem to be where rushed art shows its face the most.
The other art quibbles are personal preference things: Not a fan of the topographical map style of coloring faces and not a fan of the glistening breasts either.
Conclusion: It’s a transitional issue, but the creators do a very nice job of moving pieces around for the end-game. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this series wraps up in a few issues.
Filed under: Marvel Comics Tagged: | Clayton Cowles, Comic Book Reviews, Cory Levine, Dean Stell, Gerry Alanguilan, Icon, Jason Paz, Javier Tartaglia, Jeff Huet, Leinil Yu, Mark Millar, Marvel, review, Sunny Gho, Superior, Superior #4, Superior #4 review, Weekly Comic Book Review