The Secret Service – Mark Millar
So obviously if you have seen the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, you were treated to the trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service. After watching the trailer Danny leaned over and told me it was based on a comic book. A comic book that had just barely come out.
I am always weary of a movie if it doesn’t have a strong base story, but hell, if someone read it and was so moved that they threw millions of dollars to make an action movie right off the bat… I had to read this book!
So Amazon pushed me around for a few days, but finally The Secret Service arrived. I devoured it in basically one sitting and am conflicted. Let’s talk it out after the trailer.
This story was a run of 6 comics between April 2012 – April 2013 (Have I mentioned that comic release schedules are too erratic for me?). I picked up the trade paperback which came out April 2014.
Let’s talk story –
Summary: The main character Gary London is just another punk kid from a bad neighborhood. He has a difficult home life that he, his mother, & younger brother cannot escape. He has a well-to-do Uncle, Jack London, whom he rarely sees outside of Christmas cards and arrests.
After yet another run-in with the local authorities Jack decides that he needs to step in and take Gary under his wing. He gives him an opportunity to better himself, spy training. Gary understands it is a chance to carve out a better life for his Mom and brother away from Mom’s abusive boyfriend, so he takes it.
Meanwhile, celebrities are going missing. Dozens of them, Mark Hamill, Partick Stewart, David Beckham, and Pierce Brosnan to name a few. If you were part of a cult franchise, chances are you’re next! Jack is on the case and his fellow spies are trying to save as many celebs as they can, but who is behind it?
Not to mention the random massacres by newlyweds and other violent acts. How are they all connected? Is the Secret Service going to be successful in stopping it?
Story pacing, I felt that the concept was so strong that I could forgive the jumping around. We went from initiation to final exam in a blink. I understand we have only 6 issues, but I was hoping for more depth into what went into creating a spy. I suppose they could go back if this become a series.
I personally am hoping that the movie will be able to do a snappy 80s style montage to cover it. Or perhaps a Breaking Bad style montage, you know, for a more serious effect.
The art was perfect for the story. I like when art has clean line, but isn’t too cartoon-y. I admit that I have not yet read Watchmen, but I can see the style transferred over by the artist, Dave Gibbons. Although, if I am being picky, I kind of wish he would have made the lead characters a bit more handsome. I mean they’re spies! Okay maybe its the estrogen talking, but c’mon they’re supposed to be irresistible, but they both looked to be in their late 40s – 50s and our main character is 17!
Mark Millar is also the mind behind Kick-Ass a story about child vigilantes. I am sensing a theme here, ultra-violent-youngsters. Not really against it, but at the same time you are talking about kids with barely any life experience excelling where adults with decades of experience have failed, it kind of makes me go, “I will forgive this for the sake of the story”. That was the exact same feeling I had when reading The Secret Service. I chose to suspend disbelief for a chance to escape into a story about conspiracies and espionage.
Overall, I am on the fence if I loved it, or was just entertained. I didn’t dislike it, but I had to suspend disbelief quite a bit. There is a lot of red on the pages, but I think they found a healthy balance that falls under the Tarantino Line. I think it is worth a read and perhaps I need more testosterone to get how brilliant it is. For now I am happy I read it and am looking forward to watching the movie.