Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Secret Service #3: "A compliment wrapped up in an insult."

The Secret Service #3
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Dave Gibbons
July 18, 2012

I am a fan of Mark Millar's creator-owned work. Since the release of Wanted, I've made a habit of buying every book in his Millarworld line of creator-owned titles, usually without reading a synopsis of what the series is even about or who the creative team is. Such was the case with The Secret Service. It was a new series, co-created by Millar, legendary artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class), and that was all I needed to know.

After reading the third issue in this series, I am going to rethink my policy of buying Millar's work sight unseen.

In Issue #3, Uncle Jack is in Beijing doing some James Bond stuff and Gary is trying to fit in at MI6's school for spies. Gary is still struggling with his lower class roots as he tries to fit into the role of a sophisticated spy, and Uncle Jack is trying to figure out who keeps kidnapping scientists from around the globe. Yes, it's kind of like My Fair Lady meets James Bond.

Dave Gibbons art is good here, but not great. The scenes of Uncle Jack's escape from Beijing was the most exciting and well scripted part of this issue, but the rest of the book, though it was well drawn, failed to excite me.

Millar and Gibbons are clearly trying to resurrect the class and sophistication of the British spy genre, while also writing a story that deals with contemporary issues of class in the UK. It's a clever premise, and one I can appreciate, but I just don't enjoy it. The need to maintain that level of refinement this book is going for means that The Secret Service lacks the same energy and punch of Millar's other creator-owned work. Nemesis, this is not. And that's perfectly fine, but this title just isn't for me.

The Secret Service #3 is not a bad issue. Gibbons' art is refined, the spy scenes are reminiscent of classic James Bond, and there are some funny and unnerving scenes throughout this issue, although nothing here will shock or disturb on the level of Kick-Ass 2. If you liked the previous issues in this series, then you will probably enjoy this one too.

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