And Then I Read: SECRET SERVICE 1

Images © Millarworld Ltd, Marv Films Ltd and Dave Gibbons Ltd.

Unless one reads the indicia carefully it’s hard to know that this book is published by Marvel. It’s the first one I’ve seen under their Icon imprint, which perhaps is meant for creator-owned properties like this one. And from all those Ltds in the copyright, looks like this is intended as a film treatment as well.

I haven’t read anything by Mark Millar in a while, and this one is pretty good, though the story type is not really to my taste. It’s a police story with a decidedly grim and violent side which opens on an apparently secret hostage rescue operation in Germany conducted by British Secret Service operatives. The kidnap victim is actor Mark Hamill, who must have given permission for his use (with a possible film role in the deal) though the operation goes pretty badly wrong.

Back in London, we have a look at brutal family life in a poor section of London: a wife taking abuse from her husband, her younger son being taught to roll marijuana cigarettes, while the older one leaves angry, and gets into big trouble with the law after a stolen car chase.

Next we see a leading British agent, Jack, and his boss having dinner, interrupted by a frantic text from the wife above, his sister, begging him to come and get the son out of jail, using his influence.

So, I guess this is sort of a mix of spy thriller, police procedural on the dangerous streets, and urban gang story.

The art by Dave Gibbons is, of course, excellent, though in a way it’s almost too clean for the subject matter, at least the urban poor part. On the other hand, Dave’s storytelling is always top-notch, and that goes a long way toward making this comic fun to read. Despite the violence, and storylines that aren’t really to my taste, I’ll be reading more.

Recommended.

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