And here we come to the only comic book in this series (unless I decide to do Fantastic Four at the last minute)! This one had me worried, because despite being a comic book that it took me two hours to read, people at the library were taking their sweet time working through it. It’s very popular there, which is strange considering that I’ve never even heard of it or the movie adaptation before starting this project, and now that I’ve read it I wish I could have stayed ignorant of it.
The Book: Kingsman: the Secret Service by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Matthew Vaughn
Genre: action/thriller spy comic
First impressions: This comic is basically just Archer without the punchline. It has all the same gratuitous violence, PUA-esque philosophy toward women, and roughly-sketched, poorly-motived archetypal characters, but it doesn’t know that it’s a joke. It thinks it’s gritty and edgy. In fact, it’s contrived and boring.
Kingsman follows British inner-city white trash kid “Eggsy” as his James Bond-wannabe Uncle Jack hand-picks and trains him for MI6, amid a pet-the-cat* plotline with his mother and her abusive boyfriend, and also a save-the-world plot about a billionaire nerd set on murdering 5/6ths of the world’s population, but not until after he’s saved everyone who worked on any of his favorite nerd media (but only men, apparently). Not one single page of it is interesting or innovative. If you’ve ever seen a James Bond movie, or if you’re even vaguely familiar with Hollywood movie tropes, then you already know everything that’s going to happen in this book. It’s formulaic in the extreme, and doesn’t even try to subvert its genre. And it’s insulting to basically every kind of person represented in it, and women most of all. But if that surprises you, then you haven’t been listening. Basically this book is a piece of shit.
Will it adapt?:Yes. It’ll adapt spectacularly. It’s practically a movie as is, anyway; reads in about the same amount of time, relies heavily on visual elements, moves along at a steady pace, and there’s no backstory or character development to have to cut. But ask yourself: will this movie be any good? The answer is no. No, it will not. Because the movie will be exactly like the book, and the book sucks.
Should I read it?: Don’t waste your time.
“Mankind is the virus, and I’m the cure.” -Kingsman
*A “pet-the-cat” or “pet-the-dog” plotline is that moment early in the film/comic/book where your unlikable protagonist does something good to demonstrate that they’re really kind and worthwhile at heart, so you stick around to watch them fix all the shitty things about themselves. Usually it involves being nice to an animal or a kid.
This post is part of my I Read It First series.