Super Ego by Caio “Zed” Oliveira (author) and Lucas Marangon (artist)
Super Ego is a superhero spoof about a clinical psychotherapist who specializes in the superhuman condition. In order to meet with his super clientele, Dr. Eugene Goodman wears a silver,j reflective, skin-tight mask. Otherwise, he’s dressed in suit and tie and goes to a typical-looking office with a stereotype for a secretary. This set-up could result in a very typical type of superhero parody, a sub-genre that’s become almost as cliché as the superhero genre itself. However, Oliveira’s dialogue and clever plot twists make Super Ego far better than most other parodies of this type.
Central to the superhero parody is making fun of famous characters, and Oliveira does an excellent job. The main superhero is a son of Superman-type character. His name is Lester, and since he’s so powerful, he never gets to use his muscles to their full potential. As a result, his body is underdeveloped instead of bulging with muscles. He’s insecure and is scared to ask out girls, even after “three months of encouragement sessions,” as Dr. Goodman tells us. Lester is the son of Richard Reeves, The Savior, and Daphne Williams, Venus. Reeves, of course, brings to mind Christopher Reeves in his role as Superman, and Venus is Wonder Woman since she comes from an island inhabited only by women. After a wild night of partying, Venus gets pregnant with Lester, and Lester learns that “with great power comes great expectations” from his parents and the world.
There are other wonderful characters like Golden Arrow, the Green Arrow parody, and the Tony Stark-spoof Javier, who, though wealthy and brilliant, has a drinking-problem and trashes cities while drunk and dressed in his robot suit; however, what makes Super Ego rise above this rather straight-forward parody is the character of Dr. Eugene Goodman himself. The story is told effectively in the first-person from his perspective. His silver mask usually shows the faces of the superheroes reflected in it, a comment both on therapy in general and Goodman’s character in particular. Goodman keeps finding “Gramps” in the garage on his way to work and when he gets home, and he can’t figure out what grumpy old Gramps is up to. Goodman also has a backstory that is revealed only late in the tale, and it’s such an excellent backstory, it makes you want to reread the book from this new perspective. I was completely surprised by the end of this book, and it made me elevate my rating from 3 out of five to 4 out of five stars. Gramps plays a large role in that ending, and poor Goodman must deal with his past. If you want a good superhero parody written for an adult audience, you will find that Super Ego is certainly worth checking out.