Spy Superb #1
It's John Wick meets Wes Anderson in this mystery-thriller about a secret organization that's developed the perfect spy. Who is the perfect spy? A spy who doesn't even realize they are a spy. AKA the "useful idiot." This particular useful idiot is named Jay. Jay is sent on missions without even realizing he's on a mission. Until he picks up the wrong phone with the wrong secret intel and now Russian hit-squads and elite assassins are after him. But Jay believes he was a sleeper agent--and really is the "spy superb". His complete obliviousness and lack of survival skills may be the only thing that saves him in this globe-trotting espionage tale . . . where nothing is what it seems . . . but also . . . kind of actually is what it seems.
Spy Superb #1 introduces us to a world where a French-American alliance, Half-Huit, has created the world’s best super spy, someone capable of doing anything. The twist here is that this spy doesn’t actually exist. Half-Huit instead manipulates unassuming civilians into doing tasks that this super spy would need to do. Because these civilians have no idea that they are doing the organization’s dirty work, and they have no idea that the organization exists, they are the perfect spies. Matt Kindt serves as the writer, artist, and letterer on this comedic new book, while his wife Sharlene does the colors.
This introductory issue is broken up into two parts and also includes a short backup story. The first half of the book explains the premise in great detail. Like many of Kindt’s previous works with Valiant and Dark Horse, the premise is told in a clear and concise manner, while also including witty dialogue and humor to keep the readers entertained. Since Kindt is pulling triple duty on the creative end, he’s able to blend the humor seamlessly throughout the art and the dialogue. Usually, comics that do this need a great pairing of an artist and writer, but in this instance, Kindt is able to take out the middleman and it works well in his favor.
Just to briefly touch on the art, Kindt’s art fits this story well but it’s not outstanding. The character’s heads sometimes seem too large on their bodies and Sharlene’s colors seem washed out. In any other book this would bother me but it fits the tone of this story perfectly. I was reminded of Jeff Lemire’s books here, where he writes and paints. I wouldn’t be terribly interested in reading a comic where Jeff Lemire is the primary artist, but when he’s writing and drawing, the situation changes. Kindt and Lemire both fit into that niche of the comic world.
The second half of the book introduces us to Half-Huit’s newest unassuming spy, Jay Bartholomew III. This guy is a piece of work. Kindt could easily have made this character just a bumbling idiot, which would have also fit the story. Instead, Kindt decides to go in a different direction, making Jay possibly the most unlikable character he’s ever written. Jay is a writer who thinks he’s better than everyone else. At one point Jay claims to have written a character that is so complex that people will be studying him for years, and then immediately contradicts himself by saying that this character is too complex for his readers to understand. Jay is the kind of guy to wear sunglasses inside just so he can take them off for dramatic effect. This guy sucks, but almost in a hilarious way. Kindt writes this guy in such a way that readers are going to want him to get killed by all of these various organizations that believe him to be the Spy Superb. It’s writing like this that will compel people to come back since it’s so over the top and ridiculous.
The backup here is an origin story for The Handler, the mysterious leader of the Half-Huit, Spy Superb project. This story was also very entertaining. Kindt plays with the idea of spies making their assassinations look like accidents, and hilariously takes it to the next level. If this backup was the premise of the entire book then I’d be sold immediately.
Matt Kindt's newest Dark Horse title is a hilarious take on a James Bond style spy story. The premise is immediately intriguing and everything that follows is excellently executed.
Spy Superb #1: Secret Agent… Guy
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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