fiends friends! Buckle on your cape, put your undies on the outside of your pants and adopt a slightly creepy and/or pathetic sidekick and let’s delve into the world of psychotherapy for superheroes. Today’s offering is graphic novel Super Ego: Family Matters by Caio Oliveira which deals with …well…psychotherapy for superheroes. Let us begin our session!
Psychotherapist Eugene Goodman looks, for all intents and purposes, like a regular doctor, but once he enters his office he dons a reflective mask and becomes SuperEgo – a super therapist for some super clients. As the city has nearly reached saturation point in terms of herodom, with every rich or slightly talented thrill seeker with a world-saving complex popping on the lycra, someone needs to be there to pick them up when they fall emotionally. And when superheroes fall, they fall hard. Take Lester, for instance, the son of The Savior and Venus and the most powerful entity on Earth. Despite having the power to juggle planets, Lester is a complete failure with the ladies and his self-confidence could fit inside a gnat’s hat and still leave ample headroom for the gnat. Or Javier Hernandez, ex-child star of Mexican soap operas and multibillionaire who causes havoc with his giant wrestling robots whenever he gets bored of the playboy lifestyle and wants to try ridding the city of crime. Without SuperEgo’s help, the normals would really have a Super Problem on their hands. But when Dr Goodman’s grandfather deals with an unscheduled housecall from one of Dr Goodman’s high profile clients, the supershit really hits the fan and SuperEgo must smooth over a problem of epic proportions before a returned supervillain undoes all SuperEgo’s good work.
Read it if:
* you wish your psychotherapist would wear a reflective mask during sessions – superhero or not
* you would love to adopt a secret superhero identity, but are worried about the potential health insurance premiums for high quality Post-Traumatic Stress counselling
* you have ever been utterly embarrassed by a family member in an epic and public fashion
* your parents never understood (or supported) your choice of career
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I requested this title, but as regular readers of this blog will know, I find it hard to go past any book, but particularly fiction, in which mental health is mentioned, so mental health combined with a particularly unusual client group just tipped me over the edge. First let me say, in case you haven’t figured it out already, this is a graphic novel for adults, not children. There’s sex, violence, angry grandpas, revealing bodysuits, more violence…so let’s be clear on that before we begin.
There was a lot to like in this graphic novel I thought, particularly for those who, like me, only dip into this genre occasionally. The story was easy to follow, it was reasonably funny and the art resembled the traditional superhero comics that one might have read as a kid. There was also a nice bit of character development from both the superheroes, and from SuperEgo himself. Best of all, there is a twist at the end that cluey readers could probably guess early on, (but I didn’t!) that turns the whole plot on its head and proves that the fears of scientologists about the manipulative nature of psychiatry could be well-founded…in this graphic world, at least.
The thing I least liked about this was having to read it on a computer. I am of the opinion that graphic texts are always better in print – all the better to see the art without having to adjust your screen, zoom in, zoom out etc etc. Overall, the book didn’t blow me away, but certainly provided a fun interlude between the novels that are my bread and butter. I would be interested in seeing how the series pans out because I think this has been a promising beginning, but I’ll wait until the next instalment crosses my path, rather than rushing out to buy it.
Until next time, may all your mental health issues be looked after by someone with superhuman abilities!
* I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review*