By: Mark Millar (writer), Leinil Yu (art), Nacho Vigalondo (co-plotter), Gerry Alanguilan (inks), Sunny Gho (colors), Clayton Cowles (letters)
A Few Things:
1. One of Millar’s “movie properties.” – It seems like Millar has two styles for these Millarworld comics. On one side, you have things like Kick-Ass or Wanted or Nemesis that may be good comics, but are chock full of material that will never be able to go into a movie because Millar is pushing the envelope with over-the-top story elements. That isn’t to say that those properties can’t be made into movies, but they have to change a bit and lose some of their edginess. Then on the other side, you have properties like Superior or Supercrooks. In this case, you can absolutely see this being a movie right now. Supercrooks contains zero of the material that will make you squirm in your chair: villains made out of evil feces, sisters artificially inseminated by their brother, raped teenage girls, etc. None of that here. Millar could just send this to a movie studio “as is” and begin production. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not a big fan of seeing failed movie pitches getting turned into comics (because they usually failed for a reason), but I’ve got no problem with a creator keeping an eye on both markets, especially when one is WAY more lucrative than the other.
2. Crime + Superpowers. - With both this series and the recently finished Superior (by the same creative team), Millar has taken a very basic and time-tested story and poured superpowers over the top. Superior was a take on a faustian bargain. Supercrooks is just a crime/mob story that asks the question, why commit crimes in New York City when that’s where all the superheroes are? But, mixed into that idea is a story of a guy who gets caught ripping off a casino and is told that if he cannot come up with a huge amount of money, he’ll be a dead man. How many times have we seen that story before? It’s Tony Soprano telling the hardware store owner to pay up! Mind you, derivative story isn’t necessarily a bad thing! How many people will go to see “The Hunger Games” this weekend or have already read the books? THAT isn’t a new story; there are NO new stories. What makes a story special is how well the creators execute on them! And here, Millar puts in very strong work in this #1 issue. It is well-written and well-paced; I like the criminal characters and want them to “win,” and more than anything I want to see what happens next.
3. Very good art. - Man, Leinil Yu can draw. Credit should also go to Alanguilan and Gho for adding impact and weight to Yu’s work. This art is hyper-realistic except that the characters all look energetic and vital… not stiff like realistic artists usually are. The pages are mostly just a bunch of rectangular panels and that usually bores me to tears, but these images are dynamic and colorful enough that I love it. And goodness, are Yu’s women attractive or what?!? My only fear with a comic like this is that it’s inspiring a bunch of kids in art school and they’re going to try to draw like this without having the talent. Not to piss on anyone’s parade, but the art in this comic is, “Don’t try this at home.” Yu and company can do it, you probably cannot.
Conclusion: This story overcomes a lot of things with me (derivative story, art more realistic than I typically like, etc.) to be a very satisfying first issue. I’m very eager to see what happens with Millar’s gang of criminals as they try to pay back the mob. My only complaint is that the comic has a touch of plastic-y, artificialness to it… As if an excellent meal was prepared from a recipe… But the execution on this issue is impossible to ignore.
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