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MPH hits a slower gear as Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo’s self-proclaimed high octane heist mini-series races right into its penultimate issue! Well, the series is almost over and done with so what is the next-to-final summation of this series? Has it been a Millar dud or a Millar hit? Let’s delve into MPH #4.
Honestly, the series could be much more “high-octane” than it has been. For a series about young adults who use super-speed to pull off amazing heists, it is much more interested in the minutiae of the characters more so than the flights of fancy they get into. It’s an equally viable way to play the series, you can go one of two ways: the intimate route or the set-piece route and Millar chose the former.
Millar has been the focus of a lot of complaints concerning using too many set-pieces as filler for mediocre books, so MPH has been a nice change of pace in that regard. That said, it wouldn’t have hurt to have one incredible sequence, which Fegredo is perfectly capable of pulling off. MPH #4 follows in this regard by putting the crimes by the wayside and putting the end game in the focus.
The best way to have described this issue is that it is merely a prologue to the finale. Nothing that happens in the issue is a development in itself, but rather setting the stage. Characters don’t really grow into their final incarnations but readily give out hints that they “will” in the next issue. The plot doesn’t move but rather winds down. There’s nothing left to mature, in terms of the story. It knows it is ending.
In a way, that’s one of the big faults of this issue. It feels cut short. Being all set-up has that quality to it where one just goes “let’s get to it, we know where this is going by now” and right before it does we get a big “to be continued”. One can’t help but feel unsatisfied by the time they reach the final page. It will probably read much better in trade because, as a prologue, it does a good job. As an issue, not really.
There isn’t even any advancement into the big cliffhanger at the end of MPH #3, leaving a huge brunt of the work left for the double-sized finale next month. Fegredo, on the art side, provided yet another helping of competent work. Given the lax standards of this issue there isn’t really anything to showcase his skills with aplomb. Just a bunch of character moving toward each other.
Where Fegredo does get to shine, however, is during an exposition sequence where he is able to let loose with more archaic forms of super-speed. It’s short but overall very nicely executed. The final issue will have a lot of work ahead of it, but given the pros of the series as a whole so far I do hope it sticks the landing. Millar has been on a bit of a streak, so I hope for the best even if this installment was middling.