Detroit, a once-great city; home of rock music, Motown and the automotive industry, this is now a city falling apart and on the verge of bankruptcy. MPH is the story of what one young man from the streets of this city chooses to do with a gift, albeit a gift he was not expecting. It’s a tale that I think almost anyone can relate to, and it takes place someplace we know and where we are well aware of the plight it is currently facing, one that is not much different from that depicted within these pages. Given special abilities of any kind, what would you do? Would you use them to help others, or would you use them for your own personal gain to get yourself out of somewhere that is swallowing your hopes and dreams whole?
Roscoe is faced with this situation. I would say wrongfully imprisoned but that’s not entirely true, Roscoe was an apprentice of sorts to a man who was capitalizing on the addictions of others. Roscoe was using this to gain the money he needed to flee his once-beloved city and get to California with his girlfriend. His mentor turned him in, or so his friend told him, and then tried to steal his girlfriend. While in prison, Roscoe discovers a drug called MPH that gives him the ability to move faster than anything, to the point where time seems to stop around him. Now that Roscoe us out, he finds himself on a hunt to take away everything from his former mentor and give the life he wanted to his girlfriend. Armed with a bottle of MPH and the ability to move faster than his enemies – or anyone else – can think, it’s up to Roscoe to decide whether he will do harm or good; whether he will use the gift for his own gain or take the high ground.
Mark Millar has created a story that embodies real problems and gives one young man the hope he needs to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. This hope, though very unreal to us, is something that, when faced with a situation like this, everyone needs. Whatever form it comes in, hope is needed. Whether it be a pipe dream of something more and dream of ways to achieve it, or a freak drug that gives superpowers – hope is real. Empowered by this hope, Roscoe is seemingly unstoppable when it comes to achieving his goals and in his current state he will make a better life by any means. To create a story based around a real city in turmoil I think brings the problem to light in a different way. Art imitates life, and in this case that is most certainly true. Respect to Millar for taking this turmoil and shining even a small, albeit unrealistic glimmer of hope to it within the pages of this story. And also for finding a truly talented artist like Duncan Fegredo to bring it all to life. The artwork is very realistic and very detailed in every panel.
The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.