Written by Mark Millar
Art by Duncan Fegredo
Published by Image Comics
This was a middling issue, which is to be expected as it’s mostly about setting up the subsequent action. We get a bit more background on Rosa and some fun shots of the characters enjoying their newfound abilities. Duncan Fegredo’s artwork looks great as always. That being said, the issue raises a lot more questions than it answers. The characters have only begun to think about the far-reaching implications of their new abilities, which means that we need the next three issues to bring in a lot more.
Issue two of MPH picks up where the first issue left off, with Roscoe using his newly acquired stash of super-speed pills for good ol’-fashioned revenge. Roscoe goes to confront the gangleader, Hal, who had him put in prison in the first place. After getting some well-deserved payback, Roscoe finds Hal and Chevy and introduces them to the drug, which allows them to run from California to New York in about four minutes. After rescuing Rosa’s brother from some drug dealers, Rosa, Chevy and Roscoe decide to get revenge on the banks and corporations that abandoned Detroit and allowed it to fall apart at the seams.
The depiction of the super-speed continues to be inconsistent. When Roscoe carries them off before they’ve taken the MPH pills, why aren’t Rosa and Chevy injured or kill by the friction and subsequent whiplash? Likewise, in one panel, everything is moving slowly around them, while two panels down the characters are pulling a Road Runner and kicking up huge clouds of dust by running. It’s pedantic to expect perfect realism from a comic book about super-speed, but the inconsistent depiction of the power is jarring. There should be a consistent internal logic at work here that, as yet, is not present.
The political motivations behind this comic are interesting and it will be interesting to see how these four intend to get revenge. Millar has staked a lot on the social issues underlying this comic, and its worth as a book is going to end up resting on how Millar treats them in the remaining three issues. Roscoe’s motivations come across as somewhat confused. On the one hand, Roscoe wants to get payback on the unforgiving nature of American capitalism, but his goal, as he puts it, is to “be richer than the Rockefellers by this time next week.”
Ripping off rich people to make yourself rich is certainly fun sounding, but it’s not noble. Is that an artistic decision to show the basic vapidity of greed or the emptiness of an American Dream based on material possessions? Is Millar saying that by leaving our poorest citizens behind, we’ve created a class of people who will fight against a society that has marginalized them? Does Roscoe have a plan of some kind to become Detroit’s Robin Hood? Or is Roscoe’s plan to get rich simply unimaginative writing? Only time will tell.