Gary “Eggsy” Unwin lives with his mother and brother Ryan in Peckham, South London. One night, he gets arrested for smashing up a stolen car. His uncle Jack London bails him out and recruits him to work for the British spy agency. After a three-year training, Eggsy is put in use to work as an agent, and along with Uncle Jack, they investigate a series of celebrity kidnappings that leads to the dangerous Doctor James Arnold whose mission is to reduce the human race to only one billion population to avoid facing a total extinction and establish a brand new society of intellect.
British literature has a proud history of presenting one of the most pre-eminent spies and detective writings. Kingsman may not rank amongst the great writings but established a cult status, especially after the first graphic novel was turned into a film. The popularity of the novel can be observed this way that Kingsman’s first novel ‘The Secret Service‘ was published in 2012 but the idea of filming the book began the very next year.
The Secret Service was created by a trinity of Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Matthew Vaughn. Millar wrote, Gibbons drew, and Vaughn co. plotted. The novel has six issues and those who have watched the first film in the series will enjoy reading this and remember a lot of scenes coming straight from this novel. But after reading this, I feel that the film improved by sensationalizing the story. The audience will get more joy in watching than reading because of the ideas and the changes that were developed in the film.
And these are major changes I am talking about. Professor James Arnold, a small character portrayed by Mark Hamill in the film is actually the main antagonist of the novel as Doctor James Arnold. Colin Firth‘s Harry Hart is Jack London in the book but his relationship with the main character Eggsy differs. He is an uncle to the kid in the novel but not in the film. In fact, the film had a backstory that well supported the cause that introduced Eggsy to the spy agency. The famous William Horman quote Manners Maketh Man wasn’t written in the novel but picturized in the film. Jack London’s death scene is totally different, he got killed by Professor Arnold without knowing his identity whereas, in the film, Harry Hart is killed by the antagonist Richmond Valentine portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson after that magnificent action sequence inside the church. Gazelle is an African-American man in the book who can also speak but is a mute girl in the film.
So many things changed in the film but these are acceptable because it was the trinity of Millar, Gibbons, and Vaughn who made this film. Millar and Gibbons were the executive producers and Vaughn directed this. So there is no point in questioning the changes if the creators of Kingsman were responsible for the decision making.
Dave Gibbons’ artistry has a classic detailing of old-school comics with pretty good care on facial moods, posh attires, and brilliant bloody violent action scenes. Observe the gunshot exploding in Jack’s head. I don’t know why I have this feeling but the Blu-ish theme used in the night scenes is striking like Eggsy’s team flying near the mountains in Switzerland or the balloon in the air.
The Secret Service is a short story that gives the readers its share of entertainment, enjoyable humor, quality violence, and such an impressive character detailing of Eggsy and Jack. The fans of the Kingsman series can definitely give a try to this book.
Kingsman: The Secret Service Issues 1-6 (2012-2013)
If any reader is willing to watch a visual commentary about the graphic novel and the film, watch this video.