Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Secret Service #3

Written by Mark Millar with Matthew Vaughn
Art by Dave Gibbons and Andy Lanning

I'm used to Mark Millar books being filled to the brim with excesses - ridiculous amounts of violence, brutality, and a sort of one-ups-man-ship to surpass the level of nastiness he reached in the previous issue.  It's nice to see that Millar can still pull off a story that is compelling, but also has a touch of relevance to it.

Gary, nephew to Britain's greatest secret agent, is continuing his training in this issue.  Gary is a rough council estates kind of bloke, but his uncle saw his potential, and pulled some strings to get him into the training program.  Now, Gary is showing true promise, outclassing all of his peers in things like observation and grand theft auto (which is an example of Millaresque excesses done right).

The problem is that Gary doesn't exactly fit well with the social class that fills spy school.  He mistakes Barack Obama for Osama bin Laden, and lacks the refinement necessary to become the next James Bond.  The club scene, where the students are sent to infiltrate and score with women for points, is really pretty funny.

I wonder to what extent Dave Gibbons is reigning in Millar's sensibilities.  I can't imagine Gibbons drawing the splatter-porn that Kick-Ass 2 became, for example.  Gibbons's art is fantastic, and the sub-plot about terrorists continuing to kidnap actors, writers, and now environmental scientists from around the globe is interesting.  This is easily my favourite Millar book since he left The Authority.

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