My Bad

My Bad
My Bad graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Ahoy Comics - 978-1-95209-018-9
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781952090189
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Humour, Parody, Superhero

Anyone familiar with Mark Russell’s work to date (and if not, see the recommendations) will be well aware that a tagline proclaiming My Bad as “IMPORTANT NEW SUPERHERO UNIVERSE” can’t be anything other than satirical, and hands will be rubbing in anticipation.

Yet is there really any new route for superhero parody after all these years? Apparently so. In the company of co-writer Bryce Ingman and artist Peter Krause, Russell looks at some thinly disguised superhero archetypes. There’s Jamington Winthrop III, otherwise known as the Chandelier. The Accelerator is an alien speedster with no secret identity who relishes his fast food chicken chain, and if he had his way Emperor King would rid the world of the both. They respond in different ways to his threat, the Accelerator refusing to take him seriously while the paranoid Chandelier is sent into a long, dark bout of existentialist examination when his alter ego is sent a birthday present. Then there’s Rush Hour the superhero whose exclusive beat is traffic problems. “I fly around and help motorists when there’s a car accident”, he explains, “blow debris off the road with my breath blast and give tailgaters spankings”.

The cast are exaggerated in order to lampoon them, but there is a semi-serious point to be made. If a masterful, but completely paranoid costumed detective existed, one who planned obsessively for every eventuality they could forsee, would they really be rational? Or would their obsessions turn inward to mental instability? Don’t get too carried away with that aspect, though.

Considerable lunacy is present, all of it drawn with a straight face, so to speak, by Peter Krause in his attractive superhero style. It’s clean and it’s polished, and because it’s presented like a standard superhero story it makes the accompanying captions and dialogue all the funnier.

What at first seems unconnected short stories gradually coalesce into the reasoning that perhaps there’s not a great difference between a billionaire superhero and a billionaire super villain. Or perhaps the difference is a chasm because, after all, this is all made up. Either way, it’s very, very funny and smart to boot, which makes it good news that another serving is due in Thirty Minutes or Dead.