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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comic Book Review: Wanted (2004)

Written by Mark Millar
Art by JG Jones
Published by Top Cow
Number of Issues: 6

Imagine yourself in a world where you can do almost anything, do every vile thing that you ever wanted to do in your life and get away with it. 

Sounds fun right?

That’s what this comic book series is all about.  Forget the Angelina Jolie-flick that you watched a couple of years ago: that doesn’t match with the original that inspired that entire film. Not even close.

The Story:

Wesley Gibson is just your ordinary corporate slave who lets everybody abuse him. The guy lives in a cubicle in his office, gets yelled by his boss every day, his girlfriend cheats on him, he has a sack-of-shit best friend that fucks his girlfriend behind his back, and he suffers from what he describes as sudden “panic attacks”. 

All of that would change when a mysterious woman named “The Fox” appears to Wesley and tells him that she is a member of powerful secret society known as “The Fraternity” – a group of super villains who has taken over the world and commits every crime without facing any consequences as long as they remain hidden from the world.

Fox reveals to Wesley that he has powers and that he is the heir to the greatest super powered villain named  “The Killer”… Wesley's long lost father who was killed by an unknown assassin.

Wesley joins in the group, trains and lives the life of a super-villain – jumping of parallel universes and putting bullets into superheroes’ skulls and doing anything he wants: be it killing random strangers including his best friend, raping an A-list celebrity, or just raising hell whenever he sees fit.

But little does Wesley know that a renegate faction within the Five Houses of the Fraternity led by Mister Rictus is starting to plan their own coup-de-etat with the aim of revealing themselves to the world and eventually, conquering it.

As every other member of the Fraternity is eliminated one-by-one, it’s up to The Fox and Wesley to start nailing bullets on Mister Rictus’ gang and finally clearing the mystery behind his father's death.

The review:

This is one of the best comic books at the time it was released and still is one of the greatest creator-owned books ever, six years after its publication.

And quite a few could dispute that fact. Mark Millar did what anybody couldn’t do at the time: deconstruct the human moral fiber, gave it a devilish twist, and mocked the whole superhero genre and the reader all at the same time –  while giving everyone an engaging story that everyone raved about.

Millar poked fun and taunted the superhero world in this book as evidenced by how he made them very much laughable and completely helpless to the group of super villains: getting themselves eliminated one by one and even forgetting about who they really are.

To add insult to injury, their profiles contain obvious similarities to some of the most popular costumed superheroes - from Superman and Green Lantern, to Spiderman and even Batman and Robin. Its a big middle finger to two of the biggest comic book companies.

Millar also taunts the reader through Wesley Gibson and talks to them about “getting out of their pathetic lives” with his straight-to-the-point and profanity-infused narrative, highlighted by a classic fourth-wall breaking scene just like at the end of the film adaptation.

But for all the mockery, Wanted ultimately showed the darker side of humanity, of how much chaos we human beings can make if there wasn’t anything to stop us from doing the cruelest of things.

J.G Jones art is superb and you could see his complete attention to detail. Every scene, even the “serene” ones, is handled with such precision that reeks of awesomeness.

The action scenes are illustrated with such vibrancy and dynamic that you won’t feel that it was forced to be over-the-top just to fit Millar’s plot.

As for the covers, the stark black and white cover heading with a portrait of a main character in the middle is simple, yet breathtakingly attractive. 

And the clear resemblance of Wesley Gibson to rapper Eminem and Fox’s to actress Halle Berry doesn’t hurt either. That's just the icing to the cake. 

To sum it up, Wanted is not for the faint of heart. It is not the type of comic book that you would want to read if you’re just trying to find your way in to the world of comics, and not one that you would recommend to someone like your sister or your mom.

But its originality and its bold critique on the “mainstream” superhero genre and its depiction of the savagery of human beings (that it would almost make you feel dirty) makes it one of the best and memorable comic book series to ever hit the shelves – never to be duplicated again.

1 comment:

  1. In wanted movie i really like angelina jolie's role and her outfits are looking cool especially Angelina Jolie jacket