A review of Mark Millar's latest comic.
Credits & Solicit Info:
From The Writer Of Kick-Ass And The Artist Of Watchmen Comes A Collaboration Decades In The Making. Says Millar: —"Secret Service Is The Ramifications Of [How] America Is Struggling On The World Stage, Funding Is Being Seriously Undercut To Balance The Books And Some People Are Trying Their Best To Take Advantage Of The Fragile Global Situation. The Hero—And Sidekick Guys Who Lead The Book Are, I Think, The Best Characters I've Written."
Part spy drama and part pandering to geek culture, Secret Service #1 is the latest Millarworld movie pitch presented in comic book form. Written by Mark Millar, co-plotted by director Matthew Vaughan, and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, Secret Service is a dull, largely flat comic that was a struggle to read and felt much more forced than other recent Millarworld releases.
Secret Service focuses on a series of kidnappings involving actors from classic sci-fi movies and television shows. As British intelligence struggles to figure out the reason for the kidnappings, one secret agent deals with his nephew Gary, a good-hearted London lad who acts out due to his incredibly broken home life. As Gary sits in a London holding cell, his uncle makes a phone call asking for a favor, which will almost certainly lead to Gary being recruited by MI5 next issue.
Like every other Millarworld comic, the first issue is largely set-up and plays out like the first fifteen minutes of a movie. There's an opening action scene to draw you in followed by plodding exposition that feels incredibly generic. Gibbons' artwork is serviceable but unremarkable. Outside of the shocking death of a beloved movie actor in the first six pages, there's no hook or draw to the story. The characters are bland and forgettable and there's no reason to actually care about Gary, his uncle or anyone else in the comic. The only real draw of the issue is knowing that it'll be worth a pretty penny in a year or two after it inevitably gets made into a film.
I've described Millar as a master of writing "high-sizzle, small steak" books in the past. Secret Service is a "little sizzle, even less steak" sort of book. It's boring, dull, and lifeless and is even more of a glorified movie pitch than the typical Millarworld book. Even the quintessential shock moment present in all of Millar's books is lacking in pop. If you're truly interested in the story, do yourself a favor and wait for the movie. The book's a waste of shelf space.
Review by: Christian Hoffer
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