Review: Kingsman: The Red Diamond #1 (Of 6)

The Kingsmen’s stories are very much the style over substance spy stories. Much like the James Bond movies of the 1960’s they work so hard to emulate. There is a villain with an improbable plot to take over the world, Things will get bad for the hero, but as long as he knows when to model a dinner jacket and when to wear a tuxedo while diving a sharp sports car and use fancy gadgets, all will be well.

When Eggsy was new to the Kingsmen, he had to hide who he really was so he could fit in. He had to prove he knew when to wear oxfords and not brogues… and when to use a cool gadget to kill the bad guy. But like the man who has stared at the abyss too long, Eggsy can no longer walk in either world.

On a mission to save Prince Phillip, Eggsy manages the rescue part with panache. But as the mission ends, his natural accent and manners slipin. Prince Phillip, still recovering from the kidnapping and rescue, lets Eggsy know what he thinks of the 99% of his wife’s subjects. Eggsy reacts badly and is almost fired, but his boss relents and puts him on an unpaid leave of absence.

Eggsy tries to go home again, but his old friends call him on his new clothes and manners. They accuse him of putting on airs, while reminding him that they knew him when he acted just like them. Just as Eggsy begins to wallow in his existential crisis, we get to meet the Red Diamond in his undersea lair. (I guess all the good volcanos were taken.)

I like the way that Rob Williams (Martian Manhunter, Doctor Who, Eleventh Doctor) and Simon Fraser (2000A.D., Nikolai Dante) have taken the premise that Mark Millar and Dave Gibson and instead of trying to make it their own by retconning away what happened before, they lean into what was laid down and steal it away. The story and art are both smart and move the plot along briskly, but giving all the characters their own viewpoint and motives.

If you only know the Kingsmen from the movie, this six issue mini-series is a great place to meet the originals. If you are a fan of Millar’s comic, there is plenty going on here that you can dig through and enjoy.

Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Simon Fraser
Colorist: Gary Caldwell
Publisher: Image Comics

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