Friday, November 6, 2020

Kingsman The Red Diamond - Millar comics without Millar

Mark Millar's comics are thunderously high concept and blatantly designed to be blueprints for highly lucrative movies. And it's interesting that when Millar's concepts are handled without Millar's mannerisms, they can work surprisingly well.

When other writers work from, say, Alan Moore's plots, his lyricism is completely lost, and it's usually just more tediously average comics. But while his writings definitely has its faults - and some very obvious dialogue - Millar is a great ideas man, and seems happy to let trusted chums run with those ideas.

That's what you see in the Kingsman: Red Diamond, the sequel to the Millar/Dave Gibbons super-spy nonsense. After it was adapted to a movie, 2000ad vets Rob Williams and Simon Fraser came in for this 2017 comic to tie into the cinematic sequel.

And it's definitely set in Millar's world, with villains making ridiculously mannered pop-culture riffs and an absurd premise smashing into some clumsy and apparently heartfelt class warfare concepts.

But it's just not as grating, amd not quite as predictable as Millar's  patter. Fraser's art is his usual crisp, clear and colourful flowing lines and jarring body horror, and he is a terrific substitute for Dave bloody Gibbons, but Williams steps into Millar's shoes even more comfortably. It's lightweight and extremely disposable, but sometimes that's all you need in a dumb super-spy comic. 

Millar has been doing the same thing with new Hit Girl and Kick Ass comics, letting other get their hyper-violent kicks with the characters while he deals with Hollywood. And it's usually pretty painful when my favourite comic writers disappear into the meatgrinder of movie productions, but Millar as a showrunner for his comics is a good fit, because then the ideas don't always sound the same.

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