Mark Millar must spend a lot of time thinking about superheroes. Although Superior doesn’t feature the same twisted genius as Kick-Ass, it shows Millar’s ability to take what ought to be a bog-standard superhero story and squeeze 110 percent out of it.
The plot couldn’t be more mainstream. Simon Pooni is a young boy who gets multiple sclerosis, and is worried that he’ll spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Until, that is, a strange monkey called Ormon comes and offers him the chance of becoming Superior – an indestructible superhero from the movies. Pooni takes it and, for the next seven days, becomes the most powerful man on the planet.
Where Millar’s skill comes in is breathing fresh air into an otherwise humdrum story, by developing the characters and exploring their relationships. He also gets the ‘boy trapped in a man’s body’ element exactly right. Yu’s illustration adds a significant dimension to the book, bringing an edge of believable realism to the plot’s extraordinary situations.
Self-contained and well produced, the only thing stopping this from being great is the plot. It has the feel of something that Millar could have knocked up fairly quickly, with little that’s actually new or insightful. It doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining read, and it’s certainly something that Millar’s fans are likely to enjoy, but it isn’t the kind of classic that we’ve occasionally come to expect from Millar.