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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Cannonball Read: Entry 7a - "Wanted" by Mark Millar/J.G. Jones/Paul Mounts

Before I delve back into the depths of Twilight (I'm halfway through it), I’d like to first share with you the first review that DOES NOT count for my official Cannonball Read count. It’s a graphic novel, and it’s stipulated in the rules that Graphic Novels don’t count. (I am trying to push for Watchmen though, and might just review it as my 101st book.) For now, here’s my “unofficial” review of Wanted.

As usual, if anyone has suggestions, requests, or dedications, feel free to post them on the Comments Board. Also, for the uninitiated, here's where to go for all the background you need on this epic quest,
http://www.pajiba.com/cannonball-read.htm . Once more, special thanks to Brian Prisco for allowing me, and all the others, to participate in this clusterfuck of literary wonderment. What? You want to sign up? Start here: http://gospelaccordingtoprisco.wordpress.com/choose-your-weapon-the-combatants/ Who knows? You might just get your review published on Pajiba.

By now most of you have seen/heard of the film adaptation of the graphic novel Wanted. You know, that one with Angelina Jolie curving bullets and Morgan Freeman swearing? (Yeah…I thought you’d recognize it once I mentioned that part.) That was a fun movie and all, but if you read Wanted before you actually watched it, you might have been a little more disappointed.

This is one of the most extreme cases of the book and the movie being different, in fact the movie is so different from the book that really it should have changed its title. The only thing the book and movie really share are the same basic plot structure. Caution: Spoilers Throughout From This Point On:

- Guy is stuck in dead end life with a sucky job, cheating girlfriend, and deadbeat daddy.
- Said daddy is really a trained killer, was recently iced.
- Guy trains in the family trade.
- Guy kills for revenge.
- Dad is really alive, Guy kills dad.
- Guy goes after the true bad guys, becomes big shot at the end.

Think of it as Harry Potter, but with an R Rating's worth of killing, sex, and foul language. How these points are hit is a little more complicated. In the graphic novel, we’re introduced to a league of Super Villains who decided to whack all the superheroes in the 80’s and rewrite reality so we don’t know about them. The Super Villains run the worldwide network of organized crime, and have split into five families a la The Godfather, with Professor Solomon Seltzer being the Don Corleone of the bunch. At about the same time this organization is stressing once more about going public or staying in the shadows, Wesley Gibson (who bears a striking resemblance to Eminem) finds out that his father (who bears a striking resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones) was one of the best “superfucks” of all time, “The Killer”. He is informed of this by The Fox, another super villain who was the final lover of his father.

Throw in a couple other “out there” baddies, a quick trip to another dimension, plus the bloodiest comic book coup ever, and you have a gist of how Wanted the graphic novel plays out. The end result is something that NEVER would have been made into a film, which is a sad state of affairs because if they were super villains instead of assassins it would have probably helped all of the film’s hyper kinetic action make more sense. Simple dialogue fix: “We’re a fraternity of superior marksmen, gifted with powers of perception and accuracy no one else can hold above us. We are the assassins of Fate.” You even get to keep your loom dingus in the picture; it’s not that hard really.

The book still maintains the Fight Club message of “fight the machine”, but instead of the more “heroic” finale at the end of the film we’re left with a world where the hero is still one of the bad guys…he’s just a bad guy who’s motivated by money instead of violence, so he’s the lesser of two evils. I can almost guarantee though, if you decide to read this you’ll get to the final frame and think to yourself (no matter if you loved or hated the film), “Now why couldn’t they make THAT into a movie?”

Next Time: I’ll finally be finished with Twilight. Or I’ll start throwing in audiobook reviews too.

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