Review: Mark Millar’s Wanted

Dear Mark Millar,

I want the time back which I wasted reading the trade paperback of your Millarverse comic series Wanted.

It wasn’t completely horrible, just terribly incomplete and incosistent.

Here’s my biggest complaint: I wasn’t shocked or surprised or even remotely impressed by the violence. There was just so damn much of it was so cartoonish, it didn’t have whatever desired effect on me. I suppose it was a statement about realism in comics, especially super-villains, but it fell flat.

Add to the violence this list of complaints, and you’ll see why I was disappointed:

  • Eminem as a character model
  • Is it any wonder why Eminem won’t do the movie version? Millar created a nebbishy mama’s boy who becomes an amoral killer of the highest order.

    Note to Millar: Eminem vents his frustration via his music. Millar apparently takes his frustrations out on comic readers.

  • Halle Berry as a character model
  • Re-read the first comment and find/replace the appropriate names. Pathetic. It was a horrible reference to the even worse Catwoman movie.

  • Redemption through homicide
  • Seriously? Was the killing of Wesley’s father or Wesley’s transformation supposed to have any weight or gravitas?

    Another note to Millar: you want people to care about these characters (when they won’t care for themselves or others)? Spend more than 4 pages explaining the strange circumstances of Wesley’s childhood and his rapid ascendency to power/prominence.

Honestly, the whole series felt like an idea scrawled on a napking that wasn’t allowed to reach it’s full potential.

Super-villains ruling the world? Great.

Greatest super-villain shielding his young son only to mold him in his own image? Better.

Squishing a 12 or 24 issue series into 6 issues. Shitty.

Millar could have written the super-villain equivalent of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. Seriously. I truly believe that, executed correctly – with enough issues and more space to explore both the darker and more humane aspects of the story, it could have been great.

If you wanted to show the most nihilistic, amoral, violent world you could, Wesley would never have fallen in love with The Fox, he’d have killed her and taken over as some kind of proxy for The Devil incarnate.

As it was, the series was too short to accomplish all of it’s goals and only served to frustrate the Hell out of me. Granted, if it really got as nasty as I describe in my suggestions, I’m pretty sure no one would have read it. On the flipside, had Millar taken the time and issues to tell all the stories fully that he suggests superficially, I’d drive you to the store and buy you the book myself.

My advice: save your cash, buy and Astro City trade and hope someone else give super-villains their due.

5 thoughts on “Review: Mark Millar’s Wanted

  1. Thank you. That is precisely how I felt: some fabulous ideas, some nice art, a few great bits, and a huge hollow feeling in the middle of it all.

    Though a bit more, ah, conventional, Waid/Kitson’s “Empire” does more of what you’re looking for here, albeit with a Silver Age sheen about it.

  2. tinfoyle says:

    I hadn’t read superhero/villain books in a while when I picked up the trade paperback, and it reminded me why.

    I think the book’s juvenile and shallow ‘tude is summed up perfectly in the paperback’s bonus section where an unmasked Wesley/Eminem gives the finger to the reader. Does anyone still think an image like that is “edgy”?

  3. Comic-reader says:

    I agree that the Eminem character model is distracting (why does it matter if he raps about frustrations, can’t this be a joke about him and his lyrics? that’s what I thought) and it rips me out of the story once in a while, but this Graphic Novel was very enjoyable. Everything about was fun and the in-jokes aimed at comic-book readers were fantastic. The Art by JG Jones was excellent and although the story speeds up the carnage a signifcant amount in the final issues- it’s hilarious fun. I bet Millar and Jones had a blast putting this comic together. Why do you need a drawn out story in 12-24 issues when six makes it a tight and fun read? I thought that the length of the story made it a great read, akin to a summer blockbuster (incidentally the film will most likely be a great ride). I thought that the story was more about violence in our culture and myths and the misappropriation of myths. Great, fun read.

  4. Edwin says:

    I just read it, and it was adolescent at best. It’s amazing how a comic writer/artist can have such a sneering distaste for his fanbase and expect to keep them. Yes, the art is pretty, but I think we’ve all seen enough “the world is shit. Let’s all have sex and shoot things because that’s edgy” type comics to the point where it’s cliche.

    The “experts” claim that this is an original idea. Really? Because the Justice leage did this story in the 80’s…and better I felt.

    Mr. Miller has forgotten the Non-Super heroes out there, who fight with everything to help people without nifty weapons or gimmicks and the sheer impotence of people makes this comic ring hollow. He wasn’t making fun of the Grim-n-Gritty movement of the 80’s. He was writing his love letter to it.

    These characters have no motivation, but money, sex, and the desire to do evil. Two-dimensional characters in any reality.

  5. Hi. I was just going to say that I felt Wanted didn’t go far enough, and because Millar took ideas that didn’t belong to him and fucked them up I took his ideas and made them work. If you want to look at how it could have been better see cgnastrand and look up Rictus, or hell look up a few of the poems I have. Gilles and Rais for example. Or Alila, or Baalis.

    Anyway I felt his ideas weren’t explored, so I did the supervillain thing and took them over and made them mine. Bye.

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