Supercrooks, Kick Ass 2, Secret Service – And The Films That Inspire Them

Warning. There are mild spoilers for the new issues of Kick Ass 2 and Supercrooks in this article. I have avoided anything I consider major spoilers, instead concentrating on overall themes.

Mark Millar likes comic books. And he likes films. And he especially likes it when one becomes the other. Especially if it’s one of his.

Today we get Kick Ass 2 #7 with John Romita Jr, Supercrooks with Leinil Yu, and a preview of The Secret Service with Dave Gibbons, all of which are published from Marvel Comics. And they all wear their film influences on their sleeves, while being simultaneously embedded in comic books and comic book culture.

Supercrooks has been compared to Ocean’s Eleven but, from the first issue, it’s far closer to Ocean’s Twelve. Rather than supercriminals getting together to make a fortune for themselves, they are making the fortune to pay a major supercriminal family back a massive sum of money, with a very short time to pay. There’s a sense of urgency, a sense of duty, and bad guys vs the bad guys, which means you’re given license to cheer for the lesser villains.

For all the action and gore, there’s a very human sense of doing the right thing – even if it also happens to be the wrong thing. It smacks of mainstream appeal, a low-level superfiction adventure, and I think it’s going to do very well.

As long as they don’t cast Eddie Izzard in the movie.

Kick Ass 2 #7 has always played the clever trick of pretending to be exactly what would happen if people did dress up in costumes and tried to fight crime, but hiding an incredibly stylised reality. Hit Girl’s chopping people in half with swords just wouldn’t work – but then neither would most of the stunts she pulls. She’s like a cartoon character dropped in the middle of it all, but the feeling of reality from other scenes seeps in and tricks you and you start to believe the whole thing. But here, for a moment, the cartoon facade drops.

This final issue gets all metatextual, but delivers a satisfying conclusion to this for-every-superhero-action-there-is-an-equal-and-opposite-supervillain-reaction and sets up the third and final book beautifully. I’m loath to discuss the ending, but will say that if you have seen the (SPOILER)movie, you will find it incredibly familiar, to the degree that it may deserve a swipe file when it’s slightly less spoilerish.

And while I’m not sure how intentional that one is, the preview of The Secret Service is incredibly, obviously, and blatantly based on The Spy Who Loved Me’s opening scene, albeit it embedded with a kidnapped Mark Hamill. The wooden cabin, the ski chase, the cliff, the parachute, just played out in a very different and, yes, very funny fashion.

And possibly giving at least one more reason why Mark Millar may have needed to be in touch with Mark Hamill.

#7 and Supercrooks #1 are published today. Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics of London. David Hine will be signing The Darkness #101 there today at 5pm, with Darkness II game giveaways.

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