A comic book about British spies becomes a successful film. Then said comic book in its new incarnation gets retconned to be in continuity within this new world-building. ‘Kingsman: The Red Diamond’ is a comic book series where you’re crossing your fingers for its success. You want it to do well because Eggsy has become that subversive bastard who bucks the system in his own way. Still, he is a man with a foot in two worlds. Though he is good at being a spy he punches out the person he’s supposed to be rescuing. Simultaneously, he has yet to reconcile himself with the past and working-class family he’s left behind. Writer, Rob Williams and his team have inherited a set of characters who, five years later still have untapped potential.
To start, Williams continues the tradition of having real people incorporated into the storyline. From Britain’s Prince Phillip’s original homeland to a comment on current global happenings, gets you quickly invested. You know you’re grounded in a reality where you could possibly be a part of what’s occurring. The artwork is also crisp. The clean, sharp lines of Eggsy’s suit against the backdrop of his old neighborhood says so much in regards to what this character has to deal with. It’s an economical way to say to the reader, look where this man’s head at and why does he keep going back to this place? More importantly, the look of the characters helps establish the emotional pace of the comic and tells you who the villains are. And in Kingsman tradition, the bad guy has no problem establishing that he’s in charge. But it’s the pop culture references that will have you realizing that this first issue is over far too soon.
Just how many Terminator movies are they, and how many directors? Is James Cameron a promoter of villainy or a scapegoat for those who are in exploration of their base fantasies? A mixture of self-loathing and over bloated bravado makes for a juicy, complex narrative. For Eggsy, his old life doesn’t try to reclaim him as much as want to tear him down. Mentally he is superior to them, even before he became a spy. But emotionally, he seems to want their approval. He may not want to be one of them, but he doesn’t want to be seen as an interloper. After all he is a part of their world. The interactions with his mom seem to exemplify Eggsy’s dilemma. As a mother you should want better for your son. Telling him to ask the woman who rejected him when they were in their teens for the town bully, is not something that should be encouraged. It’s as if she’s telling him that he isn’t better and shouldn’t strive to be. What’s a son supposed to do with a mother who doesn’t seem to want the best for him? With Eggsy, his mundane family problems may be the bigger drama here.
Overall, the comic book series originally created by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons and Mathew Vaughn is in good hands. Together Williams and artist Simon Fraser are continuing a world where there are many stories to be well told.