I first started writing about Mark Millar’s MPH in April here when its advertising made me question the comic’s racial sensitivity. Since then I have eased up on my position on the book but have vowed to keep reviewing the series to make sure that my assumptions were mostly unfounded.
This issue starts off with Rosa’s brother “Baseball” holding something down (In this case guns) for an area gang called King Nitty. Here we get a real life talk about why some young men and women join gangs. Our homie Roscoe is out of jail and heads out to deliver some well needed pay back to Hal, the man who set him up. After an impressive display of speed, intellect and creativity Roscoe gets even in spades. He meets up with Rosa and Chevy to show them his newfound power and allow them to join him in a crime spree that aims to change the American landscape and class system in Millarworld — potentially forever. The last page of the comic hints at an organization that has been watching for super-humans since the first appearance of the mysterious speedster who tore through the shopping mall in issue one.
This issue was much better than issue one for several reasons. Firstly we got a better glimpse of Roscoe’s newfound power in action and the ways in which his speed works. Duncan Fegredo does a great job of illustrating these split-second scenes without losing the reader in the process.
Secondly, and maybe more importantly, I must now take this time to give credit where credit is due: Millar’s vision of what should be done to change the American class landscape is quite refreshing and I am extremely surprised this level of social commentary from the Kick-Ass writer. Rosa and her aunt’s discussion about Baseball joining up with a gang– that being a mode of survival for himself and many youths (mainly those of color) in America’s inner cities — was intriguing.
What’s, more her aunt’s response about Rosa’s brother dying to protect his gang’s turf can be seen as a symptom of generational poverty. The discussion between Chevy and Rosa about how the city lacks even basic working street lights is another discussion in which Millar subtly casts doubts on the American dream.
Roscoe’s planned revenge on the banks that helped cause the country’s recession will most likely throw more shade at the country’s ideologies and manner of governing as a whole. I’m slowly starting to understand this series — or at least get an idea of what it’s about and I’ll stick around until it’s over to see if it doesn’t teach us something about ourselves and the country.