A few months ago I backed a Kickstarter for a comic about a therapist who provides services for superheroes. When I saw the description for Super-Ego by Caio Oliveira, I knew I had to have it and pulled out my wallet to help. This week I received a digital copy of the book and decided that I couldn’t wait until the hardcover arrived to review it.
First off, I want to assure everyone that I’m going to do my best to provide this review spoiler free.
The story follows Dr. Eugene Goodman, a.k.a Dr. Ego. Apparently he’s the go to guy when it comes to superheroes with emotional issues. He wears a mask and uses the alter ego name because “masks only talk to masks”.
Not getting along with your sidekick? Talk to Dr. Ego.
Deep seeded rage issues due to trauma in your origin story? Talk to Dr. Ego.
Pressures of fighting villain after villain getting to you? Talk to Dr. Ego.
As I was reading this book, I really started to tie it to Mark Waid’s Irredeemable. The main character of Irredeemable is a once hero/now villain with a lot of emotional baggage and pain to sift through. The stress of his difficult childhood, added with the pressure of being everyone’s savior and not being able to tell anyone who you really are makes for a lot of issues to work through. Ultimately, he can’t handle it and becomes the world’s worst nightmare.
In Super-Ego, our mild mannered therapist, Dr. Ego is trying to stop that exact kind of thing from happening. I tried to picture being in his shoes and having the weight of being responsible for the mental stability of these guys (who could either save or destroy the world with a flick of their wrist) in my hands. Talk about pressure.
Think about it. In just about all of my courses we have talked about responsibility. That what our clients do or don’t do is not on us. We provide the best care we can, and what they do with it once they leave the office is on them. But what happens if your client leaves the room and destroys the city? Or the planet? Or the universe?
Regardless of what perspective you take on responsibility, those kinds of actions would be hard to live with.
Super-Ego brought up some interesting insights, but there were also some parts of the story which I took issue with.
To keep it spoiler free, I’ll just say that there is a twist that completely changes the nature of the story. The implications of the twist and the direction the characters go after said twist are concerning to me. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about them, but I’m definitely glad that I purchased the book.
I wish that the creator had focused more on the things that made the story interesting before the plot twist and spent more time with what it would be like to be in a therapy room with superheroes. They are some of the most trauma exposed, anxiety filled, isolated, and socially awkward individuals anyone could work with. I’d love to see a book that looks more at that piece.
Overall, I felt that this book was pretty good. It was thought provoking, and make me take a look at myself as a future therapist. It had action and humor, and the art was wonderful. (I tend to base many of my comic purchases based on whether or not I like the art style). And while I may or may not use this book with my clients, I will definitely be keeping on the shelf in my office.