Mark Millar & Leinil Francis Yu - Superior
The Kick-Ass creator's latest ponders what superpowers would mean to those who needed them most
Glasgow writer Mark Millar has really picked up the pace on his creator-owned series over the last few years, but what’s more remarkable is how high the quality has remained. Wanted, Kick-Ass and Nemesis were action blockbusters but Superior offers a more poignant take on superhero tropes.
As Millar points out, ‘superhero stories are essentially wish-fulfillment fantasies’ and Superior takes that concept one step further as a 12-year-old boy with multiple sclerosis gets his ultimate wish and is turned into his idol, the Superman-like Superior. But what would a young boy do with these newfound powers? Especially when even the ability to walk again, let alone fly, is a massive transformation. And what if you want to take things further and end the conflict in the Middle East or feed the starving in Africa? It’s a lot for a child to comprehend.
Superior obviously takes inspiration from Shazam! (Captain Marvel’s alter ego is young lad Billy Batson) and packs an unexpectedly emotional punch, with Millar really capturing this wheelchair-bound boy’s desire to do good within his limited framework of how the world works. How and why he received these powers is almost irrelevant (and is perhaps the weakest element of the story) but it’s the way he reacts to this responsibility that gives Superior its heart.