The 7th, and final, issue of Mark Millar’s most recent creator-owned comic-book was released last week. You can read my reviews of the previous issues here:
So, this issue picks up where the last one left off. Ormon, the little monkey who is actually an agent of Satan, has transformed the school bully, Sharpie, into Superior’s arch-nemesis Abraxas, a big man in some high-tech armor. And Abraxas is smashing up buildings, demanding that Superior shows up to fight him. Tad Hamilton, the actor who played Superior shows up and tries to bluff that he’s really Superior, and scare Abraxas away, but it doesn’t work. Luckily Simon decides it’s worth giving up his soul in order to save everyone, so he becomes Superior again, and saves Hamilton from getting killed, and then starts to fight Abraxas. Then Ormon turns into a villain called The Annihilator, a giant skeleton monster, and joins the fight. Superior battles both for several pages, managing to knock out Abraxas, and then he blasts The Annihilator, who turns back into Ormon. But Ormon is still happy about how he finally managed to get a soul for Satan, something he hasn’t been able to do for 500 years, and that it was just in time because if he hadn’t bought a soul by midnight, he’d be dragged to the deepest pit of Hell.
Then Maddie Knox shows up and point out to Ormon that if Simon is now permanently Superior, and Superior the character is immortal, then Ormon will never have a chance to get Simon’s soul. So then Ormon is dragged back to Hell, and Superior turns back into Simon, and goes back to his parents and to his old school, where he is a lot happier now. Superior is then mourned across the world, as everyone thinks he died. And Tad Hamilton is now, once again, a huge movie star, signed to make 5 new Superior movies. The book ends with Maddie taking Simon and his friends to see the newest Superior movie, and we get a shot of the screen, with “Superior” re-enacting the final scene from some of the Superman movies, where he flies above the Earth and winks at the audience. The similarity to Superman is driven home by a dedication to Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner.
So, what’s the final verdict? I feel that there was a great concept here, that didn’t live up to its promise. Millar’s execution of this idea is lacking in several areas. In this particular issue, my Suspension of Disbelief was tested several times. In the beginning, Simon’s parents seem to take the news that he is Superior with surprising ease. We don’t even see any reaction from them. The fight between Superior, Abraxas, and Annihilator takes up multiple pages, we see buildings getting smashed, huge explosions, and buses and planes getting tossed around, yet the actual violence seems toned down. We see people running, but there’s no sense of urgency. A few times we see people watching the fight and cheering Superior. At the end, we see the funeral for Superior, but no mention of the what must have been thousands of people who were killed during the fight, not to mention the billions in property damage. Somehow, Simon’s school remained unscathed, as did all his friends, so he could have his happy ending.
And I wondered how did Tad Hamilton happen to get to Abraxas so quickly? He just happened to be in the area? And then how did Maddie Knox make it right into the center of the big fight, among all that destruction? She somehow managed to safely get through all that, and get right up to Superior and Ormon?
It makes no logical sense, other than, that’s where Millar needed the characters to be, so he put them there. That’s very weak writing. And even the ending just seemed too convenient. In a way, I suppose that it’s better than what I would have expected, with Simon’s heroic sacrifice, being willing to sell his soul in order to save all those innocent people, redeeming him in God’s eyes, allowing him to keep his soul. But it’s still pretty weak, and something Ormon should have known. But, then again, Ormon seems extremely ineffective anyway, he’s got the ability to give this incredible power to Simon, and to Sharpie, yet he was somehow unable to convince anyone else to sell their soul for the past 500 years? I’d bet that a whole lot of people, even those who were not handicapped, would sell their soul in exchange for becoming an extremely powerful superhero. So that doesn’t add up either.
And the redemption of Maddie Knox still doesn’t ring true for me, after the way she was originally introduced and written in this series, as a fame-hungry reporter willing to even use sex to get a story. Now she’s suddenly had a epiphany and is a good person? I don’t buy it. And, as expected, the issue continues with the unnecessary foul language. Near the end, at the movie premier, Simon’s friends are checking out Maddie’s ass, and wondering if he’s banging her. Despite Millar’s repeated claims that this series would have a different vibe than his other work, it read like the same stuff he’s been doing since Wanted, with violence and cursing included, just because he could include it.
And the issue contains a 6-page preview of Millar’s next series, Supercrooks, which also features the cliched violence and bad language that Millar’s fans seem to love, but I am totally bored with, so I’ll be passing on that. In my opinion, Millar does his best work on corporate-owned characters, where he’s reigned in by editors. When left to his own devices, he just goes overboard too much.
So, in the end, I must give this series Two Thumbs Down.