Insufferable #1 ReviewMay 20, 2015
Insufferable is the latest series by cult superhero author Mark Waid. Waid is very accomplished, having written stories for The Flash, X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, JLA and the Original Sin story arc. Seeing his name printed as the writer is mainly what attracted me to this comic. Put simply, this series follows the trials and tribulations of a superhero pairing where one is a seasoned crime-fighter with raw skills while the other is a young yuppie-like jerk with a penchant for fame who happens to be the other’s son.
Going into this issue knowing that plot outline, I thought that I knew exactly what to expect. I saw a structure in my head of how things would play out. Despite this, I was very surprised with what I read in this comic. It is subversive, without being too much, it is smart without being complex and it is character driven without not having a focus. I can only attribute these great strengths to the power of Waid’s writing.
I am very impressed with the dialogue in this comic. It’s smart and very interesting. It doesn’t need to bombard you with exposition, it just has picture clues and brief nods in dialogue. It was very smartly crafted. By the end, I thought, ‘wow, they basically crammed three issues and a whole story arc into a 20-something page issue’. The characters were interesting, your emotions fluctuate unexpectedly, and it really keeps you gripped for the whole issue. I was quite disappointed when it finished because I just wanted to read on.
The artwork in the comic was very appropriate. In fact, I was constantly reminded of ‘Nemesis’ when I read it. For some reason, to me anyway, they seem to adopt a similar style. I think it was very appropriate for a story so unique and grimy like this one. I also loved the colour and art contrasts in the representations in the lives of the main hero and his ‘jerk’ son. The art became a visual symbolisation for how opposite they are. I really liked that.
It’s hard to talk about what I didn’t like in this comic based off of the 20 or so pages. I guess, despite its subversions, the comic does borrow from what we’ve already seen before, regarding the jerk ‘hero’ who must take credit for everything and be ungrateful to the person who is responsible for their greatness. However, I believe that down the line, this will not be such an issue, and even at the end of this comic, I enjoyed the direction they took it in. Enigmas built up and some solid backstory is inevitably on its way.
Overall, Insufferable is a comic that I’d definitely recommend. It’s serious, interesting, reminiscent of Mark Millar’s solo work, and full of flouted genre conventions. I will absolutely be continuing this series and I eagerly look ahead to when I can claim the second issue and plough through it with amazement and a sense of cynical wonder. Waid really knows what he’s doing.