What do you get when you take one part The Matrix, one part Fight Club and add a dash of a Marvel style universe? Wanted. Written by Mark Millar, with art by J.G. Jones, Wanted is a six issue miniseries that has been collected into a couple of different trade paper back formats. The series was initially published in 2003/2004.
I picked up the Wanted: Assassins Edition Hard Cover just prior to release of the film adaptation, with the intention of reading the comic, then catching the movie. That never happened. I finally got around to reading Wanted a few weeks ago now, and since then, I've occasionally found myself thinking about the story and wanting more. To me, that's the mark of any good comic, book, movie or TV show.
The story begins with Wesley Gibson, white collar office drone, who looks like Eminem, and share a lot in common with the Narrator (pre-Tyler Durdan) from Fight Club. He works in an office cubicle, at a job he hates, while his girlfriend is off shagging his 'best' friend. When Wesley is approached by a hot looking Halle Berry look a-like called The Fox, he learns that his recently assassinated father was also the super criminal known as The Killer, his life undergoes some significant changes.
Wesley enters the Fraternity and finds out that the world has run by super villains since 1986, when they banded together to eliminate the world's superhero population and rewrite reality. Superheroes are no longer remembered as being real, only fictional characters. Wesley inherits his fathers position in the Fraternity as well as his perfect aim and extraordinary ability with any weapon. Wesley quickly adopts the super villain life style. Leaving his old life behind.
When a power struggle threatens to destroy the Fraternity and both Wesley and the Fox are marked for death, Wesley truly embraces who he really is, The Killer.
Wesley Gibson is one of the few characters, like Deadpool and She-Hulk, to break the forth wall (when a character reveals his or her awareness of the audience). For example, the closing line of the book features Wesley directly the reader's pathetic, mundane, life; "This is my face while f***ing you in the ass." Which leads me to my next point. Wanted is definitely an "adult" comic. Do you need some examples? There's a character called Johnny Two-Dicks, who is similar to Two Face, however his second controlling personality is found in his pants. There's another villain called Sh!thead, who seems to be based on the Batman villain Clayface, who is a shape shifting monster composed of crap.
Like I said earlier, Wanted shares a lot in common with Fight Club and the Matrix, it that they all follow the transition of a white-collar office drone as he attempts to change his life, and to become something other than 'average'. Unlike Neo, Wesley Gibson doesn't try to make the world a better place for others, he uses his position to improve his own circumstances and nothing more.
What did I learn?
1. If your girlfriend is shagging your best friend on your IKEA coffee table then it's probably time to end the relationship. 2. Sometimes 'bad' is just more interesting.
Would I recommend this?
Heck yes. This is in my top 10 list of must own graphic novels. The artwork is cool, the story rolls along at a solid pace, and it's very hard to put down. From what I understand having read a little about the film, the comic and film share very little in common, so if you saw the film, and didn't like it, don't let that put you off. Give Wanted a look and follow the transformation of a man who goes from being the world's biggest loser to the deadliest assassin alive. If you can, grab the Assassins Edition for all the extra features.