Review: 'M.P.H.': Shock and awe seems to be Millar's cup of tea

A comic review article by: Ra'Chaun Rogers

Last month Mark Millar and Image Comics released a promo for the upcoming Millarworld story MPH. I took the advertising to task because it appeared racially insensitive, as I mistook the main character for a black male, and for that I have to excuse myself.

I wasn't wrong on the part of racial insensitivity as the main character was indeed a man of color, a Latino gent by the name of Roscoe Rodriguez. Most of my issue stemmed from the way the comic was presented, which reminds me of South Central, where a man involved in illegal activity is sent to jail and those he thought were his friends attempt to usurp his life.This past week I picked up the first issue of the comic to see if I was right on any of my other assumptions.


The issues actually starts up where Kick Ass 2 left off, literally the last scene in the comic, with a man tearing down a stretch of forest at insane speeds. He blasts through a mall and completely wrecks the spot before being caught by the cops. We jump to the present where our homie Roscoe is getting a job from a dealer he frequently does drops for. It is here that he gets set up or knocked by the feds and is sent to jail for a lengthy bid.

It is here that we learn he was set up by the same man who has been "employing" him so long, all because he wants to sleep with Roscoe's girlfriend.  After Roscoe finds out and is thrown into a spiral of depression, he is given a new drug by his cellmate, which gives him a seizure -- or so we think -- as his world is sped up to the point where everything else has stopped. This is where the story begins and hopefully where things will get clearer.

Okay so the part you've all been waiting for: did I love it or hate it? Was I right? Was it racist or do I have to eat a nice steaming plate of my own words?

MPH had aspects of what I'd assumed I'd see in a story like this, I expected to see drugs and jail cells. What I didn't expect to see was a main character who has a corkboard with his hopes and dreams pasted on it, but it makes sense in relation to Millar's view of the American Dream. I didn't find anything that was overtly offensive about the comic itself as compared to the marketing. Even the color choices for the initial promos were misleading.

That being said, this book wasn't impressive at all, I expected to see something in terms of plot or storytelling mechanics that made me go "wow, that's new or didn't see that coming"  --something like what Grant Morrison did on Batman and Robin, an addiction passed through illness. Everytime I hear about a Millarworld story it’s spoken about as if it will change the game in some way and while Kick Ass did seem to help inspire everyday people to dress up in costumes to report crimes,  it didn't do much except adapt well to movies and shock people.

Shock and awe seems to be Millar's cup of tea, but it makes me fear for this book in terms of what kind of shock treatment he will use this time (we don't need another gang rape or anything like that at all) I am thankful that the book wasn't offensive like I expected it to be but I'm not terribly excited to read any further. However I will do so, to monitor how the series progresses.


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