Friday, July 31, 2015

Booknote: MPH

Mark Millar, MPH. Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2015. ISBN: 9781632152657.

From the book's description:

"Growing up in Detroit, Roscoe and his friends know all about hard luck. But their fates take a different turn when they stumble upon a street drug called MPH — little pills that give them the power of super speed, and the opportunity of a lifetime. Now holding the perfect Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card, Roscoe leads Rosa, Chevy, and Baseball on a lightning-fast crime spree across the nation. But as a good guy dealt a tough hand, that's not enough for Roscoe. Before long, he and his friends are taking the fat cats for all they're worth, and sharing their take with the masses. But zooming through their riches at super-speed has a downside. The pills are running out, the Feds are cracking down, and a mysterious figure named Mr. Springfield is teaming up with the authorities, claiming to know more about the speedsters than they know about themselves. When time is your only asset, what happens when the clock runs out?" 

Roscoe and his friends are having a rough, hard life in present day Detroit. When Roscoe, by a stroke of chance, gets an MPH pill from a prison drug dealer, he realizes he is able to use his new power of super speed to his advantage. Initially, they set out to taking the rich bastards that screwed over Detroit for all their worth, and they become Robin Hood figures, but soon his group splinters as Chevy gets greedy, and Baseball takes an overdose of MPH that causes his speed to increase so much he seemingly vanishes. It seems the good times are not meant to last, or are they?

This was a very good read from Mark Millar, also known for works such as Wanted, Kick-Ass, and various works for Marvel Comics. His works often contain a layer of contemporary social commentary, and MPH is no exception. The protagonists are portrayed as very sympathetic, and given present day events where economic equality is a fact of life and so many struggle to make ends meet, you cannot help but root for Roscoe and his friends. The story draws you in, and you end up reading it at a fast pace as well. You get draw into the lives of the characters, and you want to find out if they end up OK or not. In addition, if you like elements of science fiction with a little time travel thrown in, then this is a book for you as well. The book may be reminiscent of some stories about thieves where the thieves think big money is a great thrill, until they find out it is not all it's cracked up to be.

I have to say this one of Millar's good works. Fans of the author will likely want to pick this volume  up. If you have not read Millar's works before (can't imagine why), then this is a good one to pick up. It has a good story with characters that many people can relate to. It has some action and adventure with some social commentary, but that commentary is just part of the story; it's not heavy handed at all. The art is also very good on this one. This is definitely a good selection for libraries that collect graphic novel collections. If you have already collected Millar's other works, you need to have this one as well. This is one I will purchase for my library, and it is one I would purchase for my personal collection as well.

5 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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