SUPER CROOKS Season One
That Man Bolt
UK/US Netflix, streaming now
Director Motonobu Hori
Cast Kenjiro Tsuda, Maaya Sakamoto,
Hiroshi Yanaka, Yasuji Kimura
Mark Millar and Leinil Yu’s four-issue comic miniseries gets an anime make-over from Netflix and animation studio Bones, the folks behind My Hero Academia and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The comics concern a team of superpowered petty crooks who leave the US, with its abundance of costumed heroes, to try their luck in Spain. Dai Sato’s screenplay – a prequel for most of its duration – loses the Iberian angle, focusing on the hapless Johnny Bolt and his attempts to get rich through a life of crime.
Bolt is the series’ greatest weakness, a lightweight character with no redeeming qualities, who’s also very passive in plot terms. The final, climactic heist involves clearing a debt to Carmine, a supporting character, so there’s nothing personally at stake for
Bolt, and he smirks through the whole enterprise without a care in the world.
True to Millar’s style, there’s plenty of violence. Two members of Bolt’s team, brothers Randy and Sammy Diesel, can regenerate from any injury, so every action scene involves them being dismembered, mangled and eviscerated. Since their powers mean they’re never in any danger, it just becomes an excuse to splatter gore about the screen. If there’s meant to be a message about the superheroes being more violent than the crooks, then it’s lost in delivery.
The plotting is contrived – for example, at one point the antagonists have Bolt and his squad completely at their mercy but inexplicably spare them – character designs and animation are unremarkable and overall, the series feels emotionally uninvolving and oddly humourless. David West
Mark Millar originally had plans to make a low-budget live-action film of Super Crooks, but the project fizzled out.