While attempting to get a foothold within their local branches of organised crime, two low-level thugs happen across a single bottle of pills, which imbues them with super speed. Bringing one of the thug’s girlfriends and her young brother along for the ride, the team start a crime spree to acquire everything they’ve ever wanted, but with the U.S government and a mysterious convict on their trail, and distrust permeating the group, some changes of heart might be in order.
It seems like we review a Mark Millar or Image series every month here on Fanboy Confidential, but with the two now pairing up and Millar specializing in producing coherent mini-series’ rather than ongoing books, that are oft optioned for films before they’ve even reached their conclusion, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to focus on projects that a) have a definite beginning, middle and end, and b) potentially have a comparable movie forthcoming.
So, with that in mind, and only a few months after the conclusion of the brilliant Starlight, we take a look at his latest foray into putting a new twist into the superpowers with his super-speed oriented, MPH.
The Millarworld books have had consistently excellent artists onboard, some fan favourites, some past Millar collaborators and some that Millar himself is a fan of, and MPH is no exception, featuring the remarkable talents Duncan Fegredo. Hand-picked by Mike Mignola as his own replacement on the Hellboy books, a fact that, in itself, speaks volumes for his skills, Fegredo tells easily read stories with a dynamic style that is both detailed, sturdy and clean.
Never having demonstrated a style that seemed especially ‘fast’, Fegredo may have seemed like an odd choice to illustrate a book that’s only featured superpower was speed, but handle it well he does, using enough speed lines and drag debris to impress the average manga artist, while never diverting from his own very recognizable style.
As far as the story goes and as is the norm with Millar, it is brisk, modern and has a strong hook. It takes regular tropes from speedster characters, a la The Flash, such as velocity assisted heists, fights and time hops, and pushes them a little further with a little more originality than we’ve previously seen; planting seeds that turn out to be obvious yet unexpected twists in the tale.
As I’ve pointed out in reviews for the last few completed Millar series’, a while ago this type of story would have been truly mind blowing, but as it stands, thanks to Millar and numerous peers, it’s the kind of quality we’ve just come to expect.
So, while this is most definitely a recommendable and fun story that boast quality though and through, it can’t be said to be a modern classic, but then again, you can’t expect that to be the case with every series you read and is an unfair albatross to hang around the neck of any creator that isn’t Alan Moore.