01st Jun2014

Graphic Novel Review: ‘The Secret Service – Kingsman’

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Mark Millar | Art by Dave Gibbons | Published by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 160pp


With the publicity train for Kingsman: The Secret Service finally making a move and providing us with a trailer, we’ve been shown what we can expect.   After my initial viewing, I thought would be a good idea to finally get to my review of the source material, and give some thoughts on how it will be transformed into a movie.  The Secret Service: Kingsman is a graphic novel collecting six-issues of the comic book together, which gives the origins of the character, exactly what we can expect from the film.  With a James Bond style story with just a hint of Avengers extravagance, it will be interesting to see just what will be translated onto the big screen.

The Secret Service: Kingsman, written by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons tells the tale of Gary, a street wise thug who would rather be robbing cars than saving the world.  When his uncle (Uncle Jack…yes, I know.) shows up with a view to saving the boy from the streets he takes Gary under his wing with a view of training him up to be a secret agent.  Will Gary find that being a secret agent is his true calling, or will he give in to the only life he’s known?

As typical with Mark Millar’s work there is a level of cynicism behind The Secret Service: Kingsman that makes it anything but an average tale.  Gary in many ways is just a typical hero waiting to be discovered, his voyage into the world of the Secret Service is something we’ve seen many times and honestly there is a feel that we’ve seen it all before.  The school he trains at is full of snobbish upper class students who look down on the new boy from the wrong side of the tracks, comparing their lives against his makes them feel far superior.  It’s a privilege thing, and Gary is almost stereotypically the bit of rough that needs to be shined into a diamond, if it’s even possible.

While the focus of the story is on Gary, Uncle Jack and the rest of the Secret Service have a new evil to fight, one that is going to bring about the end of the world.  The fact that he is kidnapping pop culture icons is an interesting touch, and hearing some of the casting for the movie this is obviously part of what we will see in it.  The fact that this is an apocalypse style scenario though is the main weakness for me in The Secret Service: Kingsman.  The fact is there is too much to do, we have to see Gary being trained up, his weaknesses and his strengths and of course his finding his true self story arc.  The problem with this is that it puts the super villain story somewhat in the background, till suddenly it’s right in our faces.

This is what is going to be interesting when watching the movie, The Secret Service: Kingsman in a way is a predictable tale that could fail because we know exactly what is coming.  The fact is though although there are many predictable elements there is one twist that is important to the plot and does mix things up a bit.  Predictable as it is, The Secret Service is an enjoyable read that could become an good movie.  I’m guessing that will be down to the screenwriting, and from what we’ve seen of the trailer? It’ll be a film full of action at least.

**** 4/5

Review originally posted on PissedffGeek

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