Science fiction and fantasy
Super Crooks: The Heist
by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu
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 However I thought the way he was persuaded to join was outdated.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
Review © Ros Jackson
Source: own copy
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