Page 45 Review by Stephen
"RU in LONDON?
GARY is in
need UR help X"
What if James Bond came from Peckham?
Don't know Peckham? Chap on the left of the cover: that's Gary. He plays a lot of video games, drinks while driving stolen cars and cannot abide his Mum's current boyfriend, Dean, who's constantly belittling the pair of them. For a party trick he's taught Gary's young brother Ryan to roll spliffs. It's something to show off to his friends. Sometimes Dean gets violent.
Uncle Jack's on the right. He too came from Peckham but has done considerably better for himself. They think Uncle Jack's in the Fraud Squad. He isn't. He's Britain's highest-ranking Secret Service agent specialising in overseas threats. There's one bubbling below the service right now and it's about to go global.
Gary's got himself nicked by the coppers again. Time for Jack to pay one of his rare visits to neglected sister Sharon and sort it all out. Again.
From the writer of SUPERIOR and a great many more of the sharpest superhero books on the shelves, and the artist on another one: WATCHMEN. Dave Gibbons is the perfect choice for something so quintessentially British and does "reserved" to crisp, sharp-suited perfection while delivering the balls-out action to boot.
Millar, meanwhile, has plenty to say about class, its portrayal in the media and the practical ramifications of poverty both on the street and behind closed doors. I don't just mean nuts-and-bolts poverty, either, but poverty of aspiration and poverty of opportunity.
Uncle Jack has neglected his family but he's about to make amends: he's going to give Jack the opportunity to join the Secret Service. He believes in Gary. It's a shame that no one's ever taught Gary to believe in himself.
The training missions are a complete departure from anything you'd expect but all make perfect sense. Begging for bus fare on the streets of London, for example. Successful coercion and blending in: observing exactly who told you to piss off and get a job, plus what they were wearing when they did so.
Yes, Jack can shoot like nobody's business and GTA proves his forte. That's video games for you. But he's lived in a cultural vacuum and social cul de sac so his powers of persuasion leave much to be desired and his seduction techniques are lame. It's not a straightforward trajectory at all. He was far more comfortable in his own skin back in Peckham, so there's every chance he'll give up and give in to the familiar.
Meanwhile, like all James Bond scenarios, there must be one godalmighty threat to fend off with specialised weaponry and ad hoc ingenuity. This one is epic in scale and topical both in its motivation and deployment. There is, however, something a little odd and oh so Mark Millar about the early warnings.
"Anything new on the kidnappings?"
"Nothing we can figure out. That's six cast and crew from the Star Wars films, four from Doctor Who, eight from Battlestar Galactica and five from Star Trek."
"The original or the JJ Abrams version?"
"Oh, the originals, of course. But Lady Hunt and I watched the new one on pay-per-view last weekend and I have to say I was very impressed. I resisted the idea of a remake at first, but the chap playing the doctor was practically channelling De Forrest Kelly."
The threat is not to sci-fi celebrities. Believe it or not the kidnapper is doing them a favour. He honestly believes he is doing the entire, over-populated world a favour.
Features the worst wedding fight ever, no matter how much you hate your in-laws.