Hey all you bare-knuckle comic book brawlers! It’s about to be another epic bout of Fistful of Comics here in the ring at the Congregation of Cool. We bring more prizefighting, no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle reviews of this weeks new releases. So, if any of you weak-chinned motherf***ers didn’t throw down your gloves at your local comics shop this week, don’t sweat it. I, Father Joe, am here for some pre-fight sparring.
C’mon, let’s work your hooks and uppercuts, southpaws, IT’S F.O.C.! —
Braveheart of comics, Mark Millar (The Authority, Superman: Red Son), writer, and the Leicester Lineman, Duncan Fegredo (Enigma, Hellboy: Darkness Calls), artist —
This series debut is yet another hollow point bullet in Millar’s comics chamber, and, along with artist, Fegredo, he’s given life to another perfect Millerverse anti-superhero, who’s obis all contemporary slacker archetype-meets-classic comic trope.
Pair that with a twist of post-modern fate to challenge the threshold of an asshole’s reluctance.
In MPH, the hero in question is Roscoe, a low-life with high hopes, who, by issue’s end, becomes sort of like The uber-Flash, but for the MTV Cribs generation.
After he falls prey to a deal that reeked of the FBI sting operation it turned out to be, mid-level bagman Roscoe get sentenced to fifteen years’ maximum hard time. Too much of a “yes-man” to turn evidence on his kingpin boss, he’s still desperate for a shortened sentence a la good behavior. So he commits himself to the vision board he’d been working on before so foolishly getting arrested for cocaine, and to his hottie girlfriend, Rosa. But then, when one of his boys on the outside reveals that the boss set him up just for a shot with Rosa, Roscoe goes all “f***s all” on good behavior and, after a stint in solitary after a cafeteria beat down, partakes in goodies from the cell block’s “Candy Store” —
What he gets from the Candyman is a mysterious pill labeled MPH, a pill we first caught a glimpse of in the issue’s intro, which had taken place twenty-some years earlier.
After a violent seizure, Roscoe comes to consciousness possessed of super speed.
But describing Roscoe’s newfound power as “super” is like referring to the Rolling Stones as a “garage band.” Because, the fact is, after a dose of MPH, Roscoe lives in speed, existing in a world where velocity and time collide together, and everything around him literally grinding to a pace so imperceptible, it all just seems to stop.
Now, what I’ve always hated about Millar is that he’s so blunt. Dude writes with all the grace of a cinderblock. In a tutu. But then again, what I’ve always loved about Millar is that he’s so goddamned blunt. Dude writes with — I’ll say it again — all the grace of a cinderblock. But, f*** the tutu, this time the cinderblock is GETTING SHOT OUT OF A BAZOOKA.
MPH is no different, and I have to say, it is also aptly titled for a Millar property. From panel one to panel end, the motor on this baby heaves high-octane. The story greatly benefits from co-creator Fegredo’s art. It’s full of colorful and contemporary pizzazz, frozen in a timeless block layout that helps to reflect what will surely be any reader’s head-on collision with it.
Bottom line: MPH is kinetically spectacular fanboy fare wrapped up in the gritty currency of a Curtis Hanson movie… If you don’t want to pick it up, just think The Avengers-meets-8 Mile and you’ll have the general idea.
Yeah. I bet you want to pick it up now.
As a final note, given its potential cinematic heft, it’s no wonder MPH had already been optioned by Lorenzo di Bonaventura for cinema before it even hit the shelves.
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