Monday, October 1, 2012

Extra! Extra! Wanted Edition

Last week I mentioned that I might do a post on Star Wars novels... Scrap that, I was able to pick up the full Wanted series this weekend and have been reading it through. I've just about finished the series and will update this post with the reviews as I find time tomorrow. UPDATE: Some issues posted, rest tomorrow!

Please note, this is a spoiler filled post, I'll be doing a quick rundown of each issue and then rating it!

In the off change you skip to my wonderful invisible tables, I'll add:

-------------------------SPOILERS LIVE HERE!----------------------------


-------------------------PROFANITY LIVES HERE!!!------------------------
This is NOT your father's comic, and some of the images I use aren't exactly clean...

Wanted #1
In this issue, we are introduced to our main character, Wesley Gibson (apparently played by Eminem). He's got a shit job, a cheating girlfriend, and is an overall pansy, living in the normal, every day world.

Then we meet a strange, part-time homosexual man who pulls some crazy stunts before being assassinated.

Supposedly, that was Wesley's dad, known as The Killer. The Killer had walked out on Wesley and his mother when Wesley was 18 weeks old.

Not long after, Wesley is abducted by Fox (apparently played by Halle Berry), a Super Criminal who worked with his father, the man assassinated a few pages prior. Wesley is in line to inherit his old man's wealth, influence, and, most importantly, his powers.

We meet some interesting characters during this issue, including a Bizarro knock-off named Fuckwit and the Professor, the man in charge. We also learn that there are no more super heroes, just villains, and Wesley has to become one of them if he wants to get his inheritance.

When Wesley, under pressure, is able to shoot the wings off of six flies in quick succession, we realize that this pansy might be more than we thought.

It's an interesting world we're introduced to in this issue; it's dark, gritty, and full of naughty words/situations. Also, the villains can do literally whatever they want without fear of reprisal or being found out because "the Fraternity" clears it all up. And it only gets more interesting from there. I rate it a 9/10 and am very intrigued.

Wanted #2
This is a busy issue. Wesley decides to ditch his desperate life and trains to become a Super Villain. Before long, he is reborn into a merciless killer who does terrible things to anybody he wants, simply because he can. It's a bit sudden, but not done poorly. He makes sure to get revenge on those in his past, too, including killing his best friend of sleeping with his girlfriend. Or blowing away the old guy who always gave Wesley unwanted encouragement when they passed on the street...

Then Wesley gets his father's Super Villain costume (even though villains aren't allowed to wear them other than for ceremonial purposes) and is officially initiated into the Fraternity, at which time we meet the head of one of the other five families that make of the Super Villain team ups to end all team ups, Mister Rictus. It is quickly made apparent that Rictus will be the main antagonist (in a book of antagonists), and is prime suspect number one for having murdered Wesley's pops.

Not long after, we learn from The Professor what happened to the Super Heroes in the world -- they were killed off when all of the villains teamed up against them. The battles were climactic and cataclysmic, but thanks to some reality warping, everything, including the existence of heroes and villains, was erased from everyone's memories. Most of the heroes were killed, while some were broken and changed, having their memories wiped with everyone else. There are direct allusions to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, even though they are not explicitly named (being that this is a Top Cow book and not a DC title).

This issue gives us a clearer picture of a world run in secret by super villains who we think are just make believe, the stuff of comic books. But that's just what we were supposed to believe... Issue gets another 9/10, I really enjoy some of the allusions to popular comic book mechanics (reboots, reality altering, multi-verses, real, gritty word vs. cartoonish world of heroes, etc...). Hopefully there's more coming...

Wanted #3
Wesley, as The Killer, is shown to be making great strides in his role as a Super Villain. This issue opens with him, along with several other villains, in the middle of a raid on another universe that is still filled with heroes. Wesley kills many heroes on their way out and they escape with their trophy intact -- a radioactive condom (referencing kryptonite from DC).

Wesley interacts with some of the other villains, especially Doll-Master and Fox (whom he is sleeping with), and eventually accompanies the Professor to the yearly Super Villain meet and great, where all of the greats come out while the heads of the five families meet to discuss the state and fate of the world. We learn there is contention in the council -- Mister Rictus and The Future want to come out from the shadows and wage wanton war on the world, while The Professor, The Emperor, and Adam One want to keep the status quo. The vote goes in favor of staying in the shadows and the meeting disperses.

On the way back home, Wesley is dropped off so The Professor can have some leisure time. Unfortunately, his is killed by a colorful character named Shithead (who is literally made up of the excrement of six-hundred and sixty six of the most evil human beings ever) not long after Wesley is dismissed from his duties as bodyguard.

Shit just got real.

Issue is an 8/10. Still solid, and we learn some of the politics of the villains -- the world is carved up into five areas, with Rictus being bitter that he was only given Australia.

Wanted #4
Here we start off learning a bit about the history of Super Villains (and Fox), we see Wesley go on a killing spree and finally get sick of what he's doing. He knows it's better than how he lived before, but it's not good.

The North American family is slowly taken apart -- Sucker, a villain able to absorb powers for 24 hours, took Fuckwit's amazing strength and helped Rictus' crew kill off the rest. Also, all of the cover ups the Fraternity was doing for the NA Family, especially Wesley, are lifted -- Wesley hears over the television that he's now a wanted man.

Unfortunately for the hit squad Rictus sends, it's not enough to throw him off his game. He kills them all, including the hard to destroy Shithead (with some heavy bleach application!).

It is Wesley and Fox versus Rictus, his Australian Family members, and the police, and the enemies hold all the cards.

9/10, a fast paced and hard-hitting issue.

Wanted #5
While everyone is expecting them to flee, Wesley and Fox (well, mostly Wesley) start hunting. Rictus is busy gloating to the other Family leaders, via killing off the heroes left to live (even if they didn't remember they were heroes).

Then Wesley goes ape shit and uses his abilities to slaughter wave after wave of villains, eventually coming face to face with Rictus in his new hideout. Wesley almost chokes... Then murders absolutely everyone, including Rictus. Even when his head isn't in it, his skills kick into action, and his power, which is, simply, to kill people, keeps on going.

Then, revealed from the shadows, Wesley's father appears.

9/10, another strong issue where separate characters are given desires, set plans into actions, and in the end get obliterated by our hero. Er... villain. Oh, whatever.

Wanted #6
This issue is relatively boring, compared to the last few issues.

Wesley is told that his father's murder was staged and the only one in on it was Fox. The whole reason for this grand scheme was to... teach Wesley how to be a man (in his father's eyes). It's kind of touching, in a creepy, mass-murdering villain kind of way.

And the (old) Killer wants the (new) Killer to shoot him in the head. He's too old, but didn't want to be taken out by a weakling, a nobody, just because he was getting old.

After some debate, Wesley officially claims his birthright, and leaves with Fox to become a new head of one of the Families.

The actual end comes with Wesley talking to the reader, explaining that he (and the other villains) have fooled us into thinking whatever they want, not remembering that heroes and villains are real. It becomes a tirade against the current state of the world and our meaningless, poorly spent lives.

7/10. It was certainly interesting, and I accept it as an end issue, but I really didn't care for the ending rhetoric or the very mellow denouement.
Wanted Dossier
The Dossier (best if read anytime after issue #3), contains an interesting opening from Mark Millar and then information on the following characters/groups in Wanted:
The Killer, Fox, Professor Solomon Seltzer, Original Killer, The Council of Five, The Heroes, Doll-Master, Imp, Nightshade, Shit-Head, Fuckwit, Sucker, and Mister Rictus.

That's really all there is to it, though it does make interesting reading and has some information that isn't found in the main six issues.

Overall, a very interesting series. I kind of wish there was a sequel. Also, I wish the movie had been, if not better, then at least somewhat related to the comics. I'll have to catch up on some of Millar's other praised works, I've not really read much from him. I appreciate the alternative take on comic characters, the dark, gritty stories, and the excessive use of vulgarity (it's a big shift from reading Spider-Man).

The setting and premise of the story, a world where the super heroes lost, appeals to me. I've written a bit about Old Man Logan, Age of Apocalypse, etc..., and they all take a similar vibe, but no one is as blunt, dark, or twisted as Mark Millar's vision drawn out in Wanted.

That's all for now, I'll be back tomorrow, along with this week's Hunting Game(s)!

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