Superstar pairings are tricky. Like rock supergroups or comedic powerhouse projects, sometimes a whole can be much less than the sum of its parts.
The Secret Service: Kingsman, is a project of luminaries Mark Millar (the creator of best-selling Wanted and Kick-Ass comics), Dave Gibbons (the multi-award-winning artist of eminent comic classics Watchmen, Batman and Doctor Who) and Matthew Vaughn (the producer of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and director of Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class).
On paper this sounds like a great idea. And given that it’s a graphic novel, on paper is a great area for it to excel. However, whilst the premise seems fun and art is certainly striking The Secret Service fails to be the 10/10 home run you’d be expecting.
Set in London (Peckham to be precise) the tale of super spies traverses the globe and focuses on Gary – a NEET youth who’s uncle just so happens to see some potential in him. If you think you know where the story is going you are correct. Cockney James Bond – but with attitude! is a fun sketch premise but a little hard to take seriously as a story.This may sound dumb but for a comic the characters are a little cartoonish and some of the dialogue feels like it was taken from Danny Dyer’s “needs more work” pile. A pile incidentally, that I would love to see. That’s not to say it’s a bad read – it’s a big dumb action comic that’s not to be taken seriously. If you’re looking for action with character and depth then you’re very lost, but if you want thrills, spills and indomitable wills you’ll probably have a good time.
There is already a movie in the works directed by Vaughn and with an early 2015 release.
The Secret Service: Kingsman is out 1 April from Titan Books.