Graphic Novel Review 162/365: Superior

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.

No specific theme this week…just some cool books that you should know about!

Title: Superior 

Author(s): Mark Millar and Leinil Yu

Publisher: Marvel/Millarworld (2013)

Age Rating: 15+

I’m going to tell you everything I like about this book, and there are a bunch of things, but first, I want to get my criticism out of the way: the boob proportions in this book are off the charts extreme.  You’d be hard-pressed to find more exaggerated breast size.  And I know it says Mature Content on the back cover, although, it’s passable for younger hero fans I’d say, but the boobs.  In the past, when I’ve had issue with this type of representation of women in comics, people have jumped down my throat telling me that that’s the way it is; hero books are just like that; it’s a man’s game; etc.

I beg to differ.

This book is really good, but if I handed it to my wife, she’d probably be done reading about the start of issue three.  She’s done seeing that in comics, and frankly, the “boob shots” have turned many women away from the hero genre.  So, as I review the book, know that if you get it, there will be massive boobs, so big that if they were in a poster, I would not hang it up in my classroom, and I have rejected Marvel posters from my classroom walls for that reason.  And there are not a ton of “boob shots” in the book, just a small handful, but like my buddy Jason and I were discussing this evening, they are like spoilers on cars; and the “boob shots” here feel to me like a spoiler on a Mercedes-Benz: the story is too good for ’em.

The good: this is a great seven issue story with amazing art about a young boy with Multiple sclerosis that gains the powers of Superior, a comic book/movie hero that is the greatest (and only) real superhero in his universe that’s not fictional.  And he takes to his new identity like a fish to water.  Using all of his new abilities, he practically ends terrorism in one day.  He is indestructible, and no Earthly villains could give him a fight.

There are a couple of cool twists and turns in the book that I do not want to give away because they pretty much create the third act, but I can say that the book deals a lot with the choices we make and the paths we decide are best for us, making this a book that would be cool in the classroom, if it weren’t for the…extra.  And maybe you have no problem with what I’ve discussed about, and that’s totally cool, but know, if that kid takes a book home, what are the parents going to say?  Unless it becomes a discussion point in the classroom, and it can.  You could easily write about or discuss the portrayal of women in the media…then, this book opens up quite a few interesting conversations.

The seven issue arc is perfect for this story to play out the way that it does.  It’s engaging, paced well, and ties up in a nice little package.  I can’t help thinking that Millar had film intentions with this one, especially since we know he’s had success with the film versions of other titles that he’s created: Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted.

The art is very well-done Marvel-style artwork: familiar panel layouts and character design.  The medium and long shots are well-done and create interesting perspectives.

What can I say?  This is an interesting take on the hero genre with a small (or should I say big) caveat.  Take that for what you will.  Millar and Yu do a tremendous job, and I’d like to hear the/a professional response to the caveat.

For what it’s worth, creators, I’ll say it again: think about the money you could be making if your books were sold by the 32 instead of the 1.  That is what the educational market can bring.  I’m glad Superior came into my radar, and I hope to use it to engage my students in some interesting discussion.

Happy reading!


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