on 26 July 2012
The book is so good, I don't know where to start. For one, it's Mark Millar's homage to Superman, and a very smart one at that - there are references to comic books, movies and the whole super-phenomenon. It's also - like The Ultimates - a story for the new century, current and relevant to today's readers, not a repetition of old themes.
At the same time, it's a story about serious disease (sclerosis) and also about the temptations, we're faced with, the choices that we make and their consequences.
The hardcover is beautiful, masterfully put together. Just a great book!
There's maybe one chapter in the middle, that I felt was a bit to slow and made me put the book down and read it in two sittings instead of one, but now I know, that it was worth to finish it.
Simon Pooni was a regular kid once, captain of the school basketball team, until something life changing happened to him - he contracted multiple sclerosis. Confined to a wheelchair and barely able to use crutches his future looks bleak. That is until a space monkey appears out of nowhere and gives him superpowers! Gone is Simon Pooni, Superior is here!
In a twist on the body swapping premise made famous by "Big" and "Freaky Friday", a disabled boy finds himself with a new body that not only looks exactly like his favourite fictional superhero but can fly, has super strength, super speed, laser vision, the whole lot! Except the space monkey is not who he appears and Simon is about to realise the true cost of a wish fulfilled.
Mark Millar writes a great story most of us who read superhero comics have dreamt of - what would it be like to have superpowers? But more than showing the benefits of having someone like Superior in real life - stopping terrorism, averting natural disasters, saving millions of lives - Millar does a fine job of putting a disease that can afflict anyone, multiple sclerosis, in the spotlight.
One of the best lines in the book is when Simon becomes Superior and says something like "Looking back, I could fly, I had super strength, I could shoot lasers from my eyes, but when people ask me what I liked best about being a superhero?, it was being able to move my toes again". It's a heart-breaking snapshot of what people with MS must feel like every day. The tribute to Christopher Reeve at the back is touching too.
But enough touchy-feely stuff, has the book got the action superhero fans crave? Of course, it's Mark "Ultimates" Millar at the helm. Superior finds his own Lex Luthor (the book is a very thinly veiled riff on Superman) and huge battle scenes commence, skilfully drawn by Lenil Yu who did great work with Millar on their last collaboration, "Ultimate Avengers".
It's a really fun book to read but, in contrast to Millar's "Nemesis" which was out this time last year, "Superior" has a lot of heart to it and you find yourself rooting for Simon throughout. A great alternative take on superhero stories, "Superior" is an excellent read.
on 2 February 2014
I have always found Mark Millar to be a somewhat cynical writer, if you take that in a comedic way. He may sometimes create characters we learn to love and enjoy, such as in Kick-Ass, then do horrible, painful things to them, simply because he can make a good story without necessarily giving you what you want. Then, in his more satirical books, like Nemesis, he's give you a non-stop, over-the-top splatterhouse that doesn't bother itself with those clumsy character interactions and simply throws you into the messy mix. How surprised was I then, when I found a Millar book with more optimism.
Superior is gold, pure and simple. I have told all my comic-reading friends about it and recommended - no, demanded that they go out and buy this brilliant book. For me, this is the definition of purely enjoyable superhero fiction with a true and honest message about how anyone can do great things, no matter their flaws; personal, psychological or physical.
To put the premise simply, a boy with multiple sclerosis is visited by a space monkey one night (yes, that's right) who grants him one wish - to become his favourite comic book superhero, Superior (an obvious stand-in for Superman).
What follows is an exciting, funny, sad and beautiful adventure about a boy given a new lease on life as he can finally walk like a normal person, and then some. This kid goes on to avert major catastrophes in his new persona and the world is astonished that this hero - known to them as a hero in published fiction and a popular film franchise - is here to save the world. There is even an amusing sub-plot about the actor who plays the Superior character on film, baffled that there is a super-powered clone of himself saving New York from falling satellites and pulling stranded submarines onto the shore.
Of course every story needs a good villain to counter the main hero, but who am I to spoil this for you? The reveal of the villain, while somewhat scary and disturbing, was also pretty funny with just how ludicrous it is.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. My only beef is that this is a mature story. It doesn't have the sexual themes of other Millarworld books, nor even excessive amounts of brutal violence, but it does has some strong language, typical of a Millar story. I'm not saying this story should be marketed towards kids, but there is something admirable about the protagonist being a kid in a wheelchair with a short life expectancy. This kid finally has the ability to move again without aid, but he chooses to use his new-found powers to help people, with no monetary reward, just the satisfaction that the world is a little bit safer.
It's something we have taken for granted in many superhero stories that doesn't seem significant enough anymore, what with mainstream superhero titles spending more time including sex and violence, and having superheroes fighting EACH OTHER in big event comics (Avengers vs X-Men, I'm looking at you) than focusing on actual heroism. Heroism doesn't come from wearing colourful costumes and fighting people, it comes from simply doing good things, big or small. It comes from cooperation and compassion. In a genre that is dumbing down because of the media hyping up the latest blockbuster superhero films, I can't believe a MARK MILLAR book would make me appreciate what being a hero really means once again.
This is what superhero books should be. This is Superior. It's more than a comic to me.
on 29 January 2016
As someone who over the years has amassed a pretty sizable collection of graphic novels, I when into this expect another run of the mill, kid becomes a hero, wish fulfillment story. Boy was I wrong!
What I got instead was a heartfelt, poignant and genuinely tear jerking story about overcoming adversity. How a disability or illness doesn't define who we are and how we more often than not take the little things in life for granted.
To top it all off, this story stands as a love letter to everything great about superheroes that don't rely on the dark and brooding angle; About being good for the sake of good, and fighting injustice because its right instead of vengeance.
This isn't just one of the best superhero stories I've ever read, its one of the best Superman stories there is.
From a jaded comic book fans perspective, this comes highly recommended. 5/5 Top Marks.
on 18 January 2016
No Spoilers. A random kid with multiple sclerosis gets given a wish by a space monkey to become his favourite movie character Superior (basically Superman) for one week. I wasn’t impressed by the blurb and it was only because it was written by Mark Millar that I picked this up. It may be a simple concept but it’s wonderful, deep, emotional and surprising. I loved every page of it. It’s an examination of power, responsibility, wish-fulfilment, innocence, hope, and looking up to an icon. It’s a true love letter to Christopher Reeve Superman but it’s still it’s own story. Artwork is gorgeous, it has elements of Tom Hanks movie BIG, it’s funny, action packed, got good twists and is heartfelt without a drop of cynicism. I clearly adored it and consider it Well Worth Full Price and Essential Reading.
All kids want to be a superhero, even kids in their thirties like me! But for one boy - the chance to become his hero is about to be granted from the unlikeliest of places when a monkey-astronaut offers to turn him into the cape-wearing, flying movie hero 'Superior'. When you struggle to walk unaided, being able to fly is an opportunity impossible to turn down.
The eleven year old Simon Pooni soon finds himself resembling the actor who plays Superior, but there are no special effects required now, he has all the Superpowers of the fictional hero. Although he has amazing abilities such as being enable to fly around the globe, it's humbling to see that what Simon loves best about being Superior is not being in a wheelchair, the simple pleasure of being able to wiggle his toes. We come to understand that offering this opportunity to become a superhero to a boy with multiple sclerosis was no coincidence, this isn't a gift, it's a trade and the stakes are high - but a failing body doesn't mean Simon is weak spirited.
Superior is clearly influenced by Superman (this is almost an alternative spin using many of the moments from the '78 film) and is even dedicated to Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner who between them made us believe a man could fly. Mark Millar obviously felt the same wonderment as me when he saw Superman as a kid, and Superior is like a love-letter to those films. There are numerous parallels between the two but this manages to look like a homage rather than derivative and it takes Superman into the modern 'real' world when instead of being an all-American boy scout, Superior becomes involved in issues which really matter. The all-powerful Superior feels he is a servant of the world - not just America or the west, helping China and even old foes Russia, though his biggest achievement is saving millions from starvation in Africa. The sorts of issues conveniently ignored in most other superhero comics. Superior perhaps runs the risk of looking outdated in a decades time by including contemporary politics such as the Afghanistan war and depicting real political leaders but it's a brave move which takes Superheroes out of the relatively safe world of rescuing cats from trees between bopping evil villains. Comics involving super-powered heroes tend to distance themselves from political decisions but a child's point of view highlights the simplicity of ethics concerning wars and famine. That isn't to say that there is no arch enemy here though and Superior ultimately builds to an epic battle with an impressively matched adversary.
In a nutshell: There's no doubt that this will appeal mainly to teenage audiences, but the nods to the great Superman films (well, the first 2!) will appeal to those who share the nostalgia. Yes - this could have explored deeper, but it still looks at a fantastical story from Millar's usual grounded-in-reality viewpoint which gives it an edge and provides the characters with depth. From a kid reflecting on his life, a journalist who is desperate to re-capture her former glory, and a semi-washed up film star who finds his doppelgänger bringing him more attention - there are plenty of interesting angles in Superior. Yu's artwork captures the same level of nostalgia and the characterisations strike a good balance of cartoony and realism.
on 20 November 2013
Another hit by awesome writer Mark Millar, this shows what Superman could've been doing instead of waiting for a catastrophe every other day. Not only that, but add in a talking monkey and an epic city-scale final fight, and you may be holding the next box office hit! Anyone who loves Superman will definitely love this!
on 2 November 2014
I cannot fault this book, as with other Millar books not for young children, amazing for adults & older teens.
Why they keep on belting out crappy kick ass films and not making this is a mystery. Probably the same people who are responsible for 'Hotel for dogs 2'. Just buy it.
on 21 February 2015
I'm gonna assume this will be made into a movie and the movie may be great but there is some obvious bad writing
There's one thing at the end that is a huge plothole that kinda ruined the story for me and i had to take off a star.
It had potential
on 10 August 2013
Buy this comic.
This is a great comic because it's the greatest homage to Superman and super-heroes in general.
5 star because it is so enjoyable to read this...