With Superior, as with several other of his creator-owned titles under Icon, the Marvel imprint, Mark Millar has taken another classic archetype and rewritten it his way. Imagine, if for a second, taking Superman and making him contemporary, like something out of The New 52 or Marvel’s own Ultimates line. And then, take it one more dark and violent step forward where your your protagonist gets his powers from making a deal with the devil. This is the basic exciting and interesting setup of Millar’s Superior.
Because it’s not Superman and there’s no need to protect the character licensing, Millar can take Superior in crazy and experimental directions. He has the innocent and ignorant mind of a child which allows him to be sympathetic and to make some really dumb decisions that have world-changing consequences. The title can also have city-wide Man of Steel and realistic levels of destruction without fans being concerned about the long-term impact on the world. Millar has a huge sandbox to play in, something he’d more than likely not be able to do with established characters that might be seen on kids’ lunchboxes.
A regular at The Big 2, Leinil Yu’s art in Superior is high quality and very mainstream; it rounds out the Superman cloning that’s going on with this title. Yu has extremely well-rounded skills that allow him to draw intense and emotive close-ups that are impactful next to huge vistas of beauty, awe and destruction. Yu really embraces the ultimate silliness of having a character like Superior that is capable of so much.
Superior, like Millar’s other over-the-top titles like Kick-Ass and Nemesis is an excellent post-modern examination of what can be possible with archetypes in the medium of comics.