Super Crooks Review – The anime adaptation of Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu’s limited series is a stylish marvel with some pacing issues
Super Crooks has been a highly anticipated series since first announced at TUDUM. Mark Millar fans rejoice as Netflix’s anime adaptation of Millar and Leinil Francis Yu’s limited series is a stylish marvel that is sure to please fans of the source material, anime fans, and people interested in a less-mainstream take on the superhero genre. Super Crooks is a surprisingly light-hearted story of a guy with superpowers just trying to get by and makes a lot of mistakes along the way.
*I feel I have to note in my Super Crooks review that I watched the English dubbed version.
The story begins with Johnny Bolt as a child who lives in a rather depressing home with an aggressively indifferent mother. He soon discovers his electric abilities and dreams of becoming a superhero, Electro Boy. With the help of his friend, he dawns a costume and begins training. After believing to have a grasp of his powers, Johnny attempts to make his heroic debut. Unfortunately, due to some bullying and having less control over his abilities than he thought, this goes from a hero’s origin to a tragic villain’s backstory. The tragedy that ensues is not entirely his fault, but impossible to remove all of the blame.
Following the events of the tragedy, Johnny realizes he is not a hero and decides to become a villain. Cut to many years later, Johnny is getting out of a supermax prison and reconnects with his girlfriend Kasey. However, before they are reacquainted fully, they are surprised by Johnny’s friends who convince him to pull a heist with him. The heist does not go as planned and thoroughly angers Kasey, as she and Johnny had agreed on a different life. However, she knows someone who could make use of his abilities and pull off one big job that will allow them to escape the criminal lifestyle.
Super Crooks is a fun anime with a lot of style and flavor. While the art style and animation aren’t particularly unique, the bright and vibrant colors combined with Towa Tei’s music bring a prominent vibe to the series. The series is rather dark and deals with some of the dark themes of corruption and the criminal underworld. It also has a good amount of gore and murder. However, the larger story and overall upbeat vibe in the show’s art style, musical score, and the characters’ attitudes make it a feel-good show overall.
The lack of uniqueness in the art style does not take away from the incredible animation and overall quality of it all. There are some truly gorgeous animations rendered throughout every episode of the series. Not to mention the beautiful homages like the Akira bike slide. No points are less because it has similar styling to other series, it’s just to note that it likely will not be the attention grabber.
There are certain characters who have regenerative/healing powers that make for some abhorrently disgusting scenes. But the vibe never really lets the downside set in. Even when some heads are exploding, the heaviness of the deaths is quickly forgotten. If it wasn’t for the actual visual renderings of some of the gore, I would say it would be a show for all ages.
Johnny’s journey from a naive superpowered kid to a physically and beaten down low-level crook, to a realized person is truly inspiring. Granted, most do not aim to live lives of crime, but many can relate to doing work they are not necessarily about but are good at. The realization of his own potential, the relationships that matter, and what in life really matters, is a profoundly heartwarming tale. It also helps, that Johnny and his teams are all about heists, not violence. It makes it easy to root for them.
I have not read the series, so I cannot speak on the adaptation quality. However, the inclusion of the Union of Justice made me wish we would be getting more of Jupiter’s Legacy. Though the renditions in Super Crook is arguably a lot more likable than anyone outside of the original heroes in the live-action series. It was a great example of telling the stories of smaller characters of a larger world that Marvel is also doing well with the Disney+ series.
Super Crooks is better than the sum of its parts. While the first episode is a truly great pilot to a series, the episodes that follow have issues with pacing. It goes from fully captivating to lulls in off-beat ways allows audiences to tune out or tune away and forget about it. The overall story and the major events of the series are great, but there are just detrimental lulls that could leave this one many’s “Continue Watching” lists.
Another critique is that the characters are largely one-note. Outside of Jonny Bolt, no one really learns anything or changes. He is the protagonist and it makes sense, but most of the other characters have no real agency. The villains also have no real presence, outside of being very powerful and jerks. Without being specific and spoiling everything, many characters do “change” in a way at some point, but the audience does not get to take the journey with them.
Outside of the pacing and characters being beholden to their archetypes, Super Crooks breaks in as a fun and enjoyable series. Fans of superpowers and heists will love the creative uses and implementation of powers into the heists. The anime styling and Towa Tei’s musical composing create a truly vibrant vibe that is sure to appeal to many. Despite some gratuitous gore, the story of Johnny Bolt throughout the series is an inspiration. Watching him overcome his shortcomings and mistakes to bring out the best of himself and his friends is a journey I believe most will enjoy even despite some pacing and character depth issues. This Super Crooks review gets a 3/5.
Super Crooks premieres on Netflix on November 25, 2021
Super Crooks Review
Super Crooks breaks in as a fun and enjoyable series. Fans of superpowers and heists will love the creative uses and implementation of powers into the heists. The anime styling and Towa Tei’s musical composing create a truly vibrant vibe that is sure to appeal to many. Despite some gratuitous gore, the story of Johnny Bolt throughout the series is an inspiration. Watching him overcome his shortcomings and mistakes to bring out the best of himself and his friends is a journey I believe most will enjoy even despite some pacing and character depth issues.