When I first saw the movie “Kingsman The Secret Service” I left the theater filled with awe, over the cinematography, action sequences, characters and even the story. The comic book did not leave the same impression on me that the movie did. Indeed this may be the first ever case of the movie being better than the book.
Incredible team, but bad combo?
The comic is written by Kick Ass writer Mark Millar, Watchmen legend Dave Gibbons, and superstar director Matt hew Vaughn (X-Men First Class) and with a team like that it’s bound to be a great comic, right? Wrong. The characters are two dimensional, the story is flat (more on that below), and the action sequences are just boring and the art just doesn’t pop.
The story itself is simple: there’s an eccentric millionaire kidnapping celebrities and no one knows why, and it’s up to MI6 to find out. While this is going on, Gary (nicknamed Eggsy) is recruited from his life in squalor by his uncle, Jack London, superspy, to join the MI6 spy school (yes, they actually call it spy school) and then s*** really hits the fan.
Why so flat?
Now, the characters. Gary is a thuggish oaf who goes through an extreme makeover in order to become a spy like his uncle. He’s taught everything that a spy needs to be the best, including arms training (which he has had plenty of from Medal of Honour,) seduction techniques and even how to fly planes. Something that he tests incredibly well in are his observational skills, but ultimately the comic fails to really flesh out his character, as his motivation stays the same throughout the book. It’s unclear why he would want to save the world when he just wants his mom to have a better life.
Jack London is everything a cliché spy should be, drawing from the world of James Bond – he’s ever the gentleman spy, staying cool in the face of danger and being suave with the ladies. It gets old very fast, and you just wish that the comic would end so you don’t have to deal with him.
The unconvincing art
The most important thing when it comes to graphic novels is arguably the art. Without good art, it might as well just be a novel, and that’s one of the comic’s biggest shortcomings. The characters look nearly identical and the only way to tell them apart is usually by the clothes they’re wearing. The action sequences are mediocre at best and the gore looks entirely too fake, like it’s ketchup not blood.
I wouldn’t reread this comic unless I was paid a lot of money to do it. I give it a 3/10, and would not recommend it to anyone.
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