The Secret Service (Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons)

The Secret Service is a comic, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.
Finished on 07.03.2015.

Jack London works for the MI6, a very special division. They have recently started to investigate the kidnapping of several celebreties, but their last rescue mission (of Mark Hamill) was a catastrophic failure. And then Jack gets a call from his sister-in-law: her son Gary was arrested and could Jack please help. Jack agrees reluctantly and actually finds that Gary has potential – so he starts to train him for entering the Secret Service, all the while trying to figure out the plans of cellphone tycoon James Arnold.

I’m not much into spy stories, so I’m afraid that I am not much the target audience of The Secret Service – which is a love letter to the genre. But it was rather enjoyable nonetheless, even if it didn’t blow me away.


One of my main issues with the comic was the complete sausagefestiness of it. Apart from Gary’s mom there is no woman to be seen anywhere who isn’t there to be hit on and provide a sexy backdrop. And while the classics of the spy genre are usually not feminist masterpieces, more often than not they feature at least some kind of femme fatale and/or damsel in distress. Not much better, but at least there are women in them. Not so in The Secret Service. Even the very training Gary receives is built on the fact that he’s a guy. And that’s just no fun.

It wasn’t always clear to me, either, whether all the things that could (and should) be a parody were actually meant as such and I kept distrusting the text in that regard which makes for a rather uncomfortable reading experience.


But it does have one of the best supervillains I have encountered so far: clear (and absolutely rational) motivation and therefore actually scary, but also an absolutely absurd plan. Also, the comics’ tongue is nerver as firmly in its cheek as it is with him and his plot, so that is rather wonderful.

Nevertheless I never really connected to either Jack or Gary. Since it is rather short (6 issues), I didn’t mind finishing it, but if it had been any longer, I doubt that I would have continued it.

Summarizing: If you have an afternoon to spare and like spy stuff, you’ll have fun.


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