Kingsman: The Secret Service by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons and Matthew Vaughn (graphic novel review)

Although I’ve heard much about the film, I won’t be seeing it until it comes out on DVD, hence the opportunity to read ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ by writer Mark Millar and artist Dave Gibbons with director  Matthew Vaughn wasn’t something I was going to miss. I should point out from the start that the book cover is to tie-in with the film with this edition and the story, as it should, predates the film.


Gary Unwin with the unlikely nickname of Eggsy is a tearaway not far from jail when his uncle, Jack London, steps in and gets him into the training program to be an MI6 agent. Unlike the rest of the class of recruits, Unwin has neither their upbringing, let alone education, for some areas of the training and realising his own inadequacy at a ball, leaves. London sorts him out but throws him on a mission in Columbia to prove to his superiors that he was the right choice.

In the background of all of this, selection people in the media industry are systematically being kidnapped and no one has any real idea why. This aspect of the plot has a higher security rating than what you currently have which you’ll only get clearance when you buy the book. There is some logic to it and a few surprises along the way.

Compared to Mark Miller’s other stories, there is a lot less on-going violence and a lot more humour and social comment. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any graphic violence but it is far more measured and making for a better read. I was more impressed with Dave Gibbons art this time with only a few characters resembling those from a certain ‘Watchmen’ series than in ‘The Originals’. Speaking of which, there are some aspects of the plot that looked like that but only in the broader sense that the villain was doing what he felt was right even if it was genocide.

From the start, I can see Miller planning this series as potential film fodder simply because of its panache and references to other films in the spy genre, mostly that of that Bond fella, especially ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ at the beginning. If the film lives up to this graphic novel, then it’s something I shall be looking forward to. Whether there is any significant differences between the two mediums can be discussed then.

GF Willmetts

March 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 160 page graphic novel softcover. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78329-336-0)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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