Superior by Mark Millar is the is the super hero comic book tale that the writers of Superman and Shazam lack the vision to write. It has more to do with choices and decisions made by the alter ego than by the super hero himself. In traditional Millar fashion, he has crafted a story of morality, responsibility and the consequences of the roads we take.
Simon is a young boy whose life was stolen from him by multiple sclerosis. Once a popular kid at school and budding athlete, Simon is now confined to a wheelchair and solitude, except for his one good friend and family. Every night Simon prays that his disease will finally take him away. His prayers are answered but not how he thinks. A monkey in a space suit wakes Simon one day with a proposition. Give up your life and take the form of the most powerful super hero in the world. The movie character that fills the screen.
Simon can become Superior but not change back into himself for a week. His parents will think he is lost or kidnapped, no one will no where he is. Simon agrees and becomes an all powerful being. Gone is the wheelchair. Gone is the weakness and blindness and pain. Not only is Simon given his body back but the body of the most powerful being on the planet. Simon becomes Superior and begins to save lives and perform feats that only a superhero can. It is a wonderful and glorious week, even though he knows his parents are suffering as they think he has been kidnapped and possibly held by a pervert. Simon knows there is no way to let them know who he really is. When the week is over the monkey called Orman returns. Only he isn’t a monkey and he isn’t benevolent. Simon can continue to be Superior, Orman says, in return for Simon’s soul. Because what Orman truly is, is a lower level demon and the capture of Simon’s soul will raise him into the higher levels of evil. Simon refuses and in an instant is returned to being the twelve year old crippled boy. But Orman isn’t done. He conjures forth Superior’s most evil enemies and begins to kill and destroy the city. Simon has a choice, he can return to being Superior and save the city, but lose his immortal soul. Will Simon sacrifice the only thing he has left, that the disease hasn’t taken from him, or will he become the ultimate super hero only to spend his eternity in hell.
Millar doesn’t write comic books that fit neatly in the box. That is why he is just so damn good. To his credit he has the Jupiter’s Circle and Legacy line, Kickass, the original Old Man Logan and some of the best in the Ultimates line. Millar often does more with a super hero than have them just save the day. His tales are often morality tales. The female characters far more than the eye candy so many other writers limit them to. The super heroes flawed and bloody. The victories not always clean and simple. No, Millar has that knack that turns a comic book into as close to real life as he is able to. That is often what makes his books so good and so disturbing.
A terrific read!