Well, F*** You, Too
This is one of those comics where everything goes downhill after the first issue, and that's saying something, considering the first issue was utter garbage.
Fredric Wertham, in his book Seduction of the Innocent, published in 1954, claimed that comics were a corrupting influence on youth that caused juvenile delinquency. His book proved to be incredibly influential, and led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority.
Why do I mention this? Wertham believed comics were full of sex and violence. And here we are, faced with a comic that is nothing but sex and violence. I'm not saying he was right (in fact, he used falsified information and generally exaggerated his findings, to a somewhat laughable extent), but I can't help wondering whether he'd be happy Mark Millar seems to be so bent on proving him right.
Anyways, on to why this comic is awful...
Wesley's irritating sense of entitlement rears it's ugly head again, and on the very first page of the issue, at that. I can't seem to find the words to properly describe the scene, so I'll just put the image in here:
I find Wesley's narrative in this picture to be both insulting and incredibly irritating. What, does he think that being in a relationship means that you're entitled to sex at literally any time you want it, and that your partner is awful and/or wrong if they aren't always obliging? That's just...disgustingly stupid. Wesley has given us no reasons as to why he should get sex/a blow-job, or for that matter why he isn't getting it at the moment. For all we know, he might not have even attempted to initiate anything, and just lies there fuming over the resulting lack of sexual gratification. That's both stupid AND lazy.
In fact, Wesley's narrative becomes more and more irritating as this issue continues. From his overdone self-loathing ("No wonder she's humping your best friend, asshole. I've seen Spina Biffida babies with more backbone"), to his sudden self-adoration ("If I was chocolate, I swear I'd eat myself right now"), to his general...wesleyness (I am seriously running out of words to describe how much this character sucks), his narrative actually starts to get strangely inconsistent.
For example, in a scene where Fox takes Wesley out to do some target practice (or whatever) with some dead bodies, we're given this rather out-of-place disclaimer:
I don't understand why this was needed. Nowhere else in this issue, or for that matter in any of the other issues (if memory serves) is there anything like this sudden seeming concern about 'people complaining'. In literally three pages Wesley is shooting down people in the streets at random, and it's treated like nothing. It's treated like less of an issue than Wesley working in a slaughterhouse to, and I quote, "get (me) as numb and desensitized as your average eight-year-old". It's treated like a big thing because he is/was "a friend of the earth, a green-peace campaigner, and a vegetarian". Yeah, great, good for you, but I think killing people is a bit more significant that giving up on lifestyle choices like vegetarianism.
The best part of the aforementioned slaughterhouse sequence? Fox standing around, smiling all smug, telling Wesley to "Fuck 'em hard with your big, steel gun!". It's funny because he's not using a gun at all at the time, but this large device that looks like the unholy spawn between a chainsaw and one of those electric knives people use to cut turkey. Freud would be so happy with how over-sexed this comic is...
So yes, Wesley goes out and shoots down random people in the street. Because Fox 'made' him do that before he could 'take down the REAL assholes'. But don't worry, in literally the next panel he starts to do just that, killing people who 'pissed him off as a kid': his old geography teacher, the girl next door, the guy across the street who kicked his ass for scratching his old Mustang, the chick who said no when I asked her out to a movie...wait, what? So let me get this straight- this woman, a human being, doesn't deserve to live because she didn't want to go on a date with Mr. Congeniality here? What the hell?
Oh, and it gets even better. The narrative on the last panel of the page reads, and I quote again, "Can you believe I raped an a-list celebrity and it didn't even make the news?".
Mark Millar has made his feelings known on the topic of rape in fiction, stating that: “I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy". So...that makes Wesley the bad guy. But...he's our protagonist, isn't he? I mean, we're supposed to like him, right?
There are so many things wrong with this comic that it's hard to pick just one, but I think that was possibly the worst parts of this issue. The contradictions alone are just...aggravating.
And then Wesley leaves Lisa. He acts like his usual awful self, and she behaves like a rational, ordinary, and ultimately blameless human being...until the second-last panel we ever see her, in which she threatens to slit her wrists if he leaves her. This irrtitates me largely because it's both out of nowhere for the character and actually horribly abusive behaviour. I mean, he 'confronts' her about her supposed dalliance with his best friend, and she plainly doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, asking him if he realizes he seems to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown and is becoming delusional. She asks him if he's willing to "throw it all away...just like that", and he claims that they never really had anything. "We just sat home watching television every night and fucked like old people once a month". Whether that's true or not, it's heavily implied (if not outright stated) that it's largely due to his neglecting her and increasing paranoia.
As far as I'm concerned, the issue ends there, and so would this review, if not for the fact that, at Wesley's Fraternity induction ceremony a new character shows up- Mr. Rictus.
Everyone's congratulating Wesley when in walks an unknown person in what I believe is a greatcoat and holding a cane. He is revealed to be Mr. Rictus, leader of another branch of the Fraternity, and, incidentally, the only character I came anywhere close to liking in this entire comic. He's supposed to be a 'bad guy'.
We get some backstory, and it's revealed that during the 80s all the superheroes in the world were defeated by, and get this, a giant supervillain team-up. Remember, this is supposed to be a parallel of the DCU, so think- when has that ever worked in comics? Generally it fails because supervillains don't seem capable of working as a team, but whatever. And then after their victory, the supervillains of the world re-wrote reality itself so that nobody remembered there were once super-heroes. We're not told how they did this, and the ability to do so is never mentioned again. Great, that makes a lot of sense. Anyways, after the victory, a bunch of villains divided up the world and five of their leaders(?) each got a continent to rule. Apparently Rictus got Australia, and he's been angry at everyone else ever since. Seriously, it sounds like a game of Risk.
Again, things just get worse from here on in. Writing this review was something of a trial, so I'm not looking forward to writing the next four. I stand by my assertation that Wanted is the worst comic I've ever read, and I give 'Fuck You' no stars.