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Wanted #6
Written by Mark Millar
Drawn by J.G. Jones
Published by Image Comics; $2.99 USD

Late and eagerly awaited, Wanted #6 is the final issue of a limited series considered by the publisher to be "the most acclaimed series of the year [2004]." With that level of anticipation, issue #6 is either the greatest letdown in comics in a long time or hidden genius.

The foundation of the story is that we empathize with Wesley because Wesley is us. Although he is an extreme case, he is like us, in that he is an everyday man conditioned from birth to accept the status quo -- to not question things. So when he rises above his pisshole of a life, so do we.

Wesley's world is our world. Yet, instead of a majority of the wealth and power being in hands of a small collection of hedonisitic, petty, selfish, rich men, the wealth and power in Wesley's world is in the hands of a small collection of hedonisitic, petty, selfish, rich supervillans. Wesley got his "job" due to the death of his father, believed to have been killed by the now lifeless corpse Wesley is sitting over on the first page of this issue. Yet, Wesley's father isn't dead. He's alive and now we find out the why's and how's of it all...

Wanted had so much potential...how'd it go so wrong?

This issue is possibly the greatest letdown in comics in a long time, because the underlying story had the possiblility of being so much more. A fundamental part of Wanted is the same concept that The Matrix delved into -- the illusion of choice. Our society is based upon this greatest of lies -- our two party system of government, our paper or plastic, our McDonald's or Burger King, our pancakes or waffles... etc., etc., etc. We suspend disbelief when we vote, as much as we suspend disbelief when we read comics. We, deep down, know it's not real, none of it, but we choose to accept it because we are willing to lie to ourselves about having a choice instead of having to accept the crushing truth that we're cattle. Moooo.

So when Wesley is freed from this...we celebrate. We live vicariously through Wesley doing everything we want to do...(and many things we don't)...we don't look away, we revel in it and drink it in. This is not the illusion of choice -- THIS IS CHOICE. He kills and rapes with complete indifference and disdain. If he chooses not to kill someone, it is not because he can't, because there are no laws for him, he chooses not to because he has real choice -- not the illusion of one. This is anarchy and we love it.

Millar could have, at this point, taken it to the next level.

As we know, Wesley's father (THE KILLER) faked his death but, what if, he faked his death so that he could manipulate his son (through his son's grief) to remove the competition (something he even admits, in this issue, he's too old to do). Just imagine an ending where THE KILLER and FOX stand above Wesley, laughing at him as he's dying, because after everything he went through, his ('OUR') rise above that ('OUR') pathetic life, was an just an extension of the greatest of lies. Wesley killed and raped thinking he had real choice but, no, it was still just the illusion of choice -- given to him to manipulate him into to doing what they wanted. In our society, the higher you get in the machine, the more choices you have but they're still just an illusion and still exist to control you. The illusion of choice is in everything and Millar could have played with this concept and made it a powerful series.

Instead, Millar resorts to cliché after cliché, and as a result, provides another reminder as to why no one takes comic books seriously.

See, the ending is based on the concept that this vicious killer (THE KILLER), deep down inside, was a father who grieved for the time lost with his son and wanted to make things better for his son in the only way he could (ironically, by making him a selfish, greedy prick like himself). Millar even threw in the memories of a teddy bear, just in case all the talking, tears and hugs didn't work. As if this vicious killer, who killed hundreds of godlike beings (superheroes) without feeling any empathy, or even an ounce of remorse, would turn into such a pathetic baby. I was waiting for THE KILLER to start talking how he found God...why not? Moooo! Am I being unfair? Compare THE KILLER in Wanted to THE COMEDIAN in Watchmen. There are many similarities between both series and THE KILLER and THE COMEDIAN is one of them. THE KILLER not only mirrors THE COMEDIAN but he's worse because no matter how vicious THE COMEDIAN was, he was still one of the good guys. He still had certain beliefs he was willing to die for. Taking that into consideration, do you think THE COMEDIAN would have turned into a sappy sobbing pathetic douche like THE KILLER did in this issue -- even if he had kids? Hell, no.

If I was more jaded, I'd wonder if this proves Rich Johnston's argument that this series was created solely as a vehicle for Millar to get a movie deal. Without a doubt, it was designed with Eminem in mind -- Wesley could be his twin -- and the reality is that it had to end as it did or he couldn't sell it to Miramax or whatever company he is planning on whoring this series out to for mass consumption. Not only that but isn't that one of the most ironic thing you've ever heard? Selling a comic about the greatest of lies (the illusion of choice) to the enormous mechanism that helps perpetuate and keep that same lie alive -- the entertainment industry. It is the greatest example of the illusion of choice -- 400 channels and nothing on. Mindless, meaningless garbage 24/7 that exists solely to keep you from thinking.

The only reason this comic even gets a rating of 2.5 is because of artist J.G. Jones. I almost hope this gets made into a movie so I can dump these comics and get my money back from some idiot speculator then snicker when it fails at the box office. Grade: 2.5/5

-- Jason St. Claire



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