JD wants to join THE SECRET SERVICE
by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons

TITLE: THE SECRET SERVICE
WRITER: MARK MILLAR
ARTIST: DAVE GIBBONS
CO-PLOTTER: MATTHEW VAUGHN
COLORIST: ANGUS MCKIE
PUBLISHED BY ICON
REVIEWED BY JOHNNY DESTRUCTO

I hadn’t the foggiest as to what this series was going to be about. All I had in way of experience was the cover and my previous enjoyment of Millar’s works. Whenever possible, I like to go into a new series with as little exposure as possible. The same reason I try to avoid all the teasers and behind the scenes stuff for upcoming films. If I know everything ahead of time, I lose most of the experience of enjoying the ride.

However, even AFTER reading issue one of the Secret Service, I wasn’t entirely sure of where this series was going to go, so… curiosity piqued, I headed to the nearest information super-highway to do some digging. This lead me to make two discoveries:

  • A. The series is basically about how a wayward, arsed-up kid eventually turns into a James Bond-esque superspy.
  • B. I wish I hadn’t made the first discovery.

It isn’t that I don’t like what the the essence of the story is, it’s just that I was really enjoying the mystery. I had a very satisfying initial read that left me with questions, and I missed that feeling after I did my research. Much like trying to find the hidden Christmas presents, finding them, and then realizing that I’d ruined the surprise for myself.  All of this is to say that I really dug this first issue, so much so that I wish I just enjoyed the ride like when I was a kid and had to read comic books WITHOUT the internet.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t have my doubts. In the first page, we are introduced to special guest star Mark Hamill. And not just a guy similarly named, but the actual actor, whom you probably know best from his stellar work in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, as the astounding Cock-Blocker. He’s done some other work here and there, but it was all pretty small potatoes when compared to JASBSB. I opened the issue and realized what was happening and thought “well, this isn’t off to the best start.” It seemed sort of lame at first, but by the time that scene was over, I was IN.

WIth the big entrance out of the way, we start to get into the meat of the story, and from here on in, it never once feels like a typical Mark Millar story. It feels….adult? I realize that may sound a touch insulting, but I’ve always enjoyed how Millar stories talk to the action movie lover in me. The kid who sometimes just loves things because they seem cool or fun or bad-ass. The kid who loves the original Total Recall and The Matrix (or…you know…superhero comics). Whereas a good portion of Millar’s works are really great sugary snacks, this issue felt like a well-proportioned, filling meal.

And the art. Good god, the art. How is it possible that Dave Gibbons has gotten even BETTER than he was on Watchmen? Unbelievable. Even more-so that it was done digitally.

Jack London is a respectable government agent who is constantly called upon to get his sister’s troublesome kid Gary out of, well…trouble. The poor bastard is a wastrel, a nogoodnick, a ne’erdowell, and Jack has had about enough, and decides to call in a favor. There is a real world vibe to this that I haven’t experienced in a Millar book that I can recall. Maybe that’s what I meant earlier when I said it feels more adult. This series has more in common with LUTHER than MISFITS. (If you’ve never heard of Luther OR Misfits, do yourself a favor and do some google-ing, and then watch both series. Amazing stuff.)

And even if you don’t usually enjoy Millar’s work, pick this up, you’ll high-five yourself later.

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam at www.poptardsgo.com, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on Party934.com alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.

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