Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Super Crooks: The Heist

by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu


There may be honour amongst thieves, but there's not a lot of restraint in this heist story set in a world of supervillains and heroes. The crooks are outmatched by their caped opponents, to the point that most of them are in hiding or in prison, or they have given up their criminal ways. But one known as The Heat ends up owing $100 million to Salamander, a super-villain not renowned for his soft side. If he can't come up with the money soon he'll be a dead man.

Luckily The Heat has mentored a few in the supervillain community, and they owe him favours and some of them are willing to help him out. Johnny Bolt is one of these, and although he's only just been released from a five year stretch for robbery he's willing to take on one last job. His former girlfriend Kasey thinks he's stupid and wants him to go straight. However she's not one to let down an old friend either.

So they gather a gang of quirky, dysfunctional crooks and travel to Spain, which is unusually free of superhero activity. They're there to take on The Bastard, the most notorious supervillain of them all. This graphic novel comes with a warning about mature content, and that's mainly down to the levels of violence. It's incredibly macho and bloody, with teeth and body parts flying around with cartoonish abandon. Leinil Yu's artwork is very male gaze-y as well, with female characters often drawn underdressed, even when sex has little to do with the plot. Somehow that doesn't happen to the male characters quite as often. Kasey is the smartest and most interesting character, but there are very few women in the story overall, and most of them are there only as arm candy. Maybe Super Crooks is written with wish fulfilment for impressionable teenage boys in mind, but it's not particularly healthy.

One of the gang was never a criminal, which sets up a certain tension because he might betray the rest of them. However I thought the way he was persuaded to join was outdated. Blackmailing someone about their sexuality might have been believable in the 20th century, but in the 21st?

The artwork is colourful and clear, and although some of that colour is blood spatters it's still an attractive book. I enjoyed the clever ending, and even though the main characters are bad guys too they're very likeable. They have fatal flaws and the way they can't seem to stop themselves from getting into trouble can be funny. It's not too deep, but this story is as much fun as a squad of ninja kittens.

3rd January 2013

Book Details

Year: 2012

Categories: Books

  Not For The Squeamish  

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4 star rating

Review ©

Source: own copy