So, here I sat on the wobbly edge, wondering if I should even read “Wanted.” I mean no one cared about the comic, they loved the movie before it even arrived in theaters, and the stupid comic was short lived, but then I saw that final scene where our main character is screaming in to the page with the bubble reading “This is my Face While I’m fucking you in the ass,” and I chuckled so hard, I had to at least give it a chance. Lasting only six issues, and then being made in to a movie that’s kind of faithful to the comic. Wesley Gibson is an average man who… you’ve seen the trailers for the movie, I assume. Anyway, Wesley Gibson is your average schmuck who could have been played by someone a little more reliable than James Mcavoy. The guy’s a good actor, but not who I envisioned.
His femme fatale mentor? Halle Berry. His aged mentor? Tommy Lee Jones. But no… we get Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie. No wait, they’re great actors. Ah, I’m being a bitchy fan boy again. Damn.
Moving on, “Wanted” is pretty much like the movie. Wesley is an average dude who is recruited by a fraternity of hit men controlled by a secret organization after his father–also a part of the frat–is assassinated by someone. Oh and they’re also costumed super villains going by named like Sucker and The Fox, too. But they left that out in the movie. Good thing or bad thing? You decide. Mark Millar loves violent, gritty, and disturbing comic series, and “Wanted” is pretty much like everything else he’s done. There’s nothing too subtle about the gorgeous “The Fox” going in to a restaurant and shooting people up just to show that she is untouchable thanks to her membership in the fraternity.
There’s nothing subtle about using “Fuck” in every other word of a sentence. Fuck.
He also spoofs Superman, too! And Batman. And Spider-Man. And pretty much everyone else this side of the comic universe! Lovely! In fact Millar takes such great pains to feature the other side of the ball park where villains have outlasted the heroes, and an initiation ceremony involves the burning of a Marvel comic. And “Wanted” is… well pretty fucking good. It’s the story you’ve seen in “Fight Club” where an emasculated young insignificant man is stuck in a rut and has no idea how to get out. A meeting with fate suddenly makes him realize he has a lot of bad in him, and he’s about to change the world and have a coming of age experience involving blood, violence, and broken bones.
But there’s disharmony in the super villain fraternity as–a la “The Godfather”–the five warring families of the villain verse are struggling over world domination, or quiet cabal dictatorship in the shadows as affairs in the world begin getting monotonous. Does Wesley have the balls to stand in the way of Doctor Rictus? And who actually killed his father? What the movie may get wrong is the meaning of the title. The moniker “Wanted” isn’t about criminals being wanted by the law, it’s Wesley Gibson’s wants and needs finally coming to fruition and he has to decide if it’s his wants that he actually desires, or wants being forced on him. Gibson is still confused even after realizing the mutilation and raping of average citizens just isn’t for him.
But Millar does leave the classic formula for us. Villains need heroes to balance out the natural order of things. Without heroes to provide them with difficulty, villains are just over powered psychos looking for a good time, and Millar presents us with villains who have what they want and suddenly realize that… yes, it’s NOT what they want!
The keyword? Want.
Hence, the title.
“Wanted” can be too tongue in cheek with references to Batman, and Superman and Spider-Man so cumbersome it tends to get really annoying after the first two issues. Millar also doesn’t seem to have a knack for dialogue and just goes around with “Fuck” and trying to break every taboo possible, failing on many occasions. Not to mention the big reveal as to who killed Wesley’s dad becomes pretty obvious in the middle of the series, and the finale is pretty much nothing but over explanation for us; this is where the big villain plot suddenly becomes irrelevant. It’s not perfect but it does the trick, and it has something to say to the reader about materialism, consumerism, and learning to take life by the balls while you’re still alive to see what balls are. Millar’s message is loud and clear, if clunky. I’m still trying to figure out why Millar was basically laughing at us for buying and reading his comic, in the last issue.
“You’re stalling your misery by reading this comic, sucker! Fuck you! But… thanks for your money! And thanks for reading!” Right. Okay. Not exactly the same existentialism “Fight Club” excelled at, Millar.
But “Wanted” is that classic comic tale with a twist of a coming of age epic that really succeeds in being exciting, entertaining, and flat out fun. Millar is very good in creating this world.
Hopefully the movie will be as good.
Curve a bullet? That’s so stupid.