Reviewer: Tim Sheridan
Story Title: Dead or Alive
Written by: Mark Millar
Penciled and Inked by: JG Jones
Colored by: Paul Mounts
Flashback sequence art by: Dick Giordano
Lettered by: Robin Spehar & Dennis Heisler
Publisher: Top Cow > Image Comics
When Wanted first started over a year ago, it was a pretty big deal. It was Mark Millar striking out on his own sort of. For a few years, Millar has been gaining steam working on some high profile Marvel books. He’d gotten both critical and fan praise. Personally, I’m a big fan of the guy. So for quite some time, he picked up momentum on established characters. Regardless of how odd the take was on Superman, The Avengers, or X-Men, they still were those characters. So when Wanted was released, it was huge. It was Mark Millar trading in his popularity and success to do his own thing. He was still in the superhero world, but these were new characters, and the book rode on his name and nothing else. This is pretty much on par with what would happen if Michael Bay decided to make a big budget indie flick.
Granted, Mark Millar can hype with the best of them, so he started rumors that Eminem was interested in the film version of Wanted. Turns out that wasn’t true, but it still got people talking. JG Jones even drew the main character of Wanted, Wesley Gibson, to look just like the slim shady. But despite this hype, he still had to deliver. So did he?
Yeah, sure…for a bit. This has been a pretty exciting series, and it’s the sort of story that Millar could not have told within his Marvel books, Ultimate or not.
Wanted has been an odd duck though, and it was not until this last issue that I realized how odd it is.
I had been reasonably excited to get this last issue, going back last week and rereading the previous 5 issues. Now, the schedule has been late on getting this book out, but seeing as though this was the last of the series, I didn’t let that bother me.
Anyways, while reading Wanted, Millar and Jones immerse you in an ultra-violent world that’s incredibly cynical and mean-spirited. But they put you in Wesley’s head too, so he is sort of your guide to the world, and he helps you along with his missives about the world.
At the end of the previous issue, we find out that Wesley’s father, who was the original Killer (the supervillian role Wesley is inheriting), is in fact alive. This was not really surprising to me, seeing as though 1) this is a comic book, 2) he died such a neat death in issue #1, and 3) he was a cool character. Seems as though his father had one more lesson for his son. And after a long and sort of dull explanation of his origin, we find out the lesson is for his son to kill him. And that was ultimately disappointing. I really felt “so…that’s it?”
After that, we get a pretty quick wrap up to the series, and Wesley gives us another Tyler Durden-esque monologue about the ways of the eff-ed up world.
When I first read this series, I thought it had a lot of potential. I had a lot of faith in Millar to give us a great story, something we had not seen before. And it looked like he was for a while. He gave us a very personal tale of a supervillian. But after that, the story got more and more traditional, and therefore more and more disappointing.
I don’t think this is a bad series, but it’s just not quite as good as I was expecting from those involved. I’ll still follow Millar in his creative-owned books, but I just will hope for more next time.