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File:Wanted comic 7522.jpg


Meet Wesley Gibson. Wesley's father abandoned him when he was eighteen weeks old, and things have gone steadily downhill since. He works for a disgusting boss at a job he hates before going home to a girlfriend who's sleeping with his best friend. But suddenly, Wesley is tapped to join The Fraternity, a league of elite international assassins. He is trained specifically to kill Cross, the rogue Fraternity member who killed his father, mostly by getting the shit kicked out of him by the rest of the team...

Wait, that last bit was the movie. Let's try again.

Meet Wesley Gibson. Wesley's father abandoned him when he was eighteen weeks old, and things have gone steadily downhill since. He works for a disgusting boss at a job he hates before going home to a girlfriend who's sleeping with his best friend. But suddenly, Wesley is tapped to join The Fraternity, a shadowy cabal of comic book-style villains who claim they're behind all organized crime on Earth, and that further, Wesley's father was one of them.

And that's when Wesley's life gets much more interesting.

Wanted is a comic series by Mark Millar and JG Jones that operates on one simple principle: superheroes really do exist in our world. Well, at least they did until 1986, when all the supervillains in the world teamed up for the express purpose of defeating every superhero in the world. However, getting rid of the superheroes and divvying the world up into sections to make money unencumbered by spandex-clad do-gooders wasn't enough for the supervillains. Did we mention they are supervillains? They used magic and technology to alter reality and people's memories, removing the superheroes from all recorded history and recall.

Almost.

You see, this still wasn't enough(supervillains, remember). So they took the heroes who had survived and gave them meaningless lives, then left most of the heroes exploits around...in comic books.

The series has its origins in Millar's childhood, when his older brother convinced the young Mark that Superman and all other superheroes had existed before Mark was born, but had all been killed by the supervillains. And then Mark grew up and became a comic writer. Was originally a proposed reboot for the Legion of Doom, but when rejected Mark decided to go Darker and Edgier


Wanted (the series) provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Doll-Master uses robot dolls to commit crimes.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Wesley trades in his jeans/t-shirts/windbreaker style for tailored three-piece suits.
  • Affably Evil: Professor Solomon Setzer seems like a fairly nice, easy to get along with guy. Then you remember that he was the person who engineered the heroic genocide...
    • The Doll-Master is as evil as the rest of the Fraternity but he loves his family and won't swear in front of children.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Wayyyy too many to list here. Suffice to say that pretty much 80% of the characters are either Lawyer Friendly Cameos or Affectionate Parodies. Started life as a Legion of Doom Reboot as well.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Mr. Rictus (and his gang of supervillain cronies, if you take them all together as one boss). The entire fight at the end, basically, was a huge letdown.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Wesley seems to believe this, talking up how "macho" he becomes after becoming a villain.
  • Ax Crazy: Mr. Rictus in a nutshell.
  • Badass: Choose your favorite!
    • Badass Army: Composed of supervillains
    • Badass Bookworm: Professor Setzer
    • Badass Decay: An in-universe example. Turns out that this universe once had a Batman Expy, who Mr. Rictus described as essentially being the "scariest man in the world" (and considering what Mr. Rictus is like, that says a lot). After the villains effectively retconned the existence of superheroes, that same guy is now an expy of Adam West, and is an actor who portrays a superhero in a campy TV show.
    • Badass Normal: Wesley[1]
      • Although it's hinted that his powers extend to making mundane implements of death lethal to even Nigh Invulnerable foes.
    • Badass Longcoat: Mr. Rictus
  • The Bad Guy Wins: It already happened. Why do you think it's such a Crapsack World?
  • Beyond the Impossible: Both Wesley and his dad are capable of hitting shots that make the stuff from Equilibrium and Ultraviolet look tame. Then again, with a codename like "The Killer"...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After Mr. Rictus gloatingly informs him that his wife and daughters have been raped and murdered, The Doll-Master orders all of his dolls to kill Rictus' gang. It doesn't work, but give him points for trying.
  • Black and Grey Morality: One of the defining traits of the series.
  • Blasphemous Boast: At the yearly conference of Fraternity heads, Adam One doesn't see the point in Mr. Rictus advocating for the Fraternity to step out of the shadows, since they're "already sitting here with more money than God".
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Invoked with Wesley by the end.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The entire series is Wesley telling you, the reader, all of this after it's happened and giving you a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for thinking it's just a comic book.
  • Brotherhood of Evil: The Fraternity.
  • Bullet Time: This is shown to be part of the reason Wesley is so good at killing people.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: Double inverted; Mr. Rictus makes love to goats. Plural.
  • Canon Welding: Some bits of dialogue in both titles indicates that Millar's Chosen takes place in the same Universe.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Pretty much every member of The Fraternity; they're evil and darn proud of it.
  • Career Killers: The Killer, who is Wesley's father.
  • Catch and Return: Done with a bullet. Using a fucking knife.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: The Fox subverts it. She seems like one at first glance, but stick around and you'll find her to be crass, vulgar, and ultraviolent.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Fox.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Eminem as Wesley, Halle Berry as Fox and Tommy Lee Jones as The Killer
    • Adam-One bears a striking resemblance to President Mobutu
  • Conqueror From the Future: The Future. With Nazism.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Fraternity leader Adam-One, a millenia-old immortal from the dawn of humankind.
  • Contract on the Hitman: When Wesley and The Fox escape him, Mr. Rictus goes about finding them by the simple expedient of revoking their Fraternity protection and letting their faces and names be plastered all across the news.
  • Corrupt Politician: In a world run by super-villains, a number of world leaders have to be on the take.
  • Crapsack World: Ever wonder why the world seems like it sucks? Because it does, thanks to the villains erasing superheroes.
  • Creepy Doll: The Doll-Master's weapons of choice. Able to fly and loaded with Professor Setzer-designed weapons.
  • Deconstruction: Not just of comic books and super-villains (see below), but to a larger extent, society's glorification of violence. It's a widely-established fact that becoming an action-hero and "manning up" is a power fantasy frequently entertained by adolescents (mainly males). Here, Millar suggests that such dreams are not only unrealistic, but just downright dysfunctional and reprehensible. For example, Wesley mentions several times about how his transition to cold-blooded killer changed his life for the better, but isn't portrayed sympathetically at all. In fact, at this point readers are most likely disgusted by his actions, with his callous murder of innocents, like the moment where, on a whim, he decides to walk into a police station and kill every male officer and nearly rape the sole female survivor, all because he was bored. In fact, towards the end of the comic, as he enacts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Mr. Rictus, he confidently states "I am John Wayne, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood", among other action heroes. At this point, would you really cheer for him, even if he plays on your power fantasies like a videogame?
  • Crossover: Millar was reluctant to do any crossovers but agreed to do one with the Savage Dragon since he and Larsen are pals and had worked together in the past.
  • Defector From Decadence: Wesley's mother was a former supervillain who left the life of villainy after becoming a mother, coddling Wesley to the disgust of his father, who wanted his son to follow his legacy as a Complete Monster.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The original Killer occasionally engages in homosexual acts once in a while when he gets bored with women.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Despite having a vast array of firearms used against him, Wesley never actually ends up getting shot, most likely due to this trope. His father is explicitly shown dodging bullets, and since Wesley got his powers from his dad, it makes sense that he would be capable of the same feat.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Wesley's first test is to shoot the wings off some flies. He's unable to even try until The Fox is literally about a second from blowing his brains out.
  • Driven to Suicide: In a way; Wesley's dad can't stand the thoughts of not being the best killer in the world or of someone less talented than he is taking him out, so he gets Wesley to do it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In spades. Wesley Gibson: Mass murderer and remorseless rapist? Oh yeah, absolutely. But at least he has a tiny sense of decency when he displays his appreciation of family values. Mr. Rictus, on the other hand, commits such heinous atrocities that disgust even Wesley and most of the other villains. In fact, Mr. Rictus' evil is pretty much the only reason you would cheer for Wesley when he goes on his killing spree against Rictus: the latter is only slightly better than the former when it comes to morality. Just barely.
    • Fox mentions this as the reason she moved from Rictus's gang to Seltzer's. Sure, she kills people, but Rictus was shooting babies in cribs for the hell of it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Wesley, Wesley's father, and Doll-Master all have families and sincerely care about them.
  • Evil Duo: Wesley and The Fox, who by the end of the series are the new leaders of the North American branch of The Fraternity.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids
  • Evil Versus Evil: The finale, with Wesley and The Fox facing off against Mr. Rictus and his crew.
  • Expy: The Killer (especially the first one) seems inspired by Deathstroke the Terminator. Mr. Rictus has elements of The Joker, but also Judge Doom. The Fox is blatantly Catwoman. Professor Seltzer is pretty much a Golden Age Lex Luthor.
    • Then there are their foes: Superman is explicitly shown as a paraplegic, Batman is alluded to several times - as the Detective - before his post-1986 persona who basically Adam West, along with Dick Grayson who has turned into Burt Ward, are placed in a death trap by Mr. Rictus and fed to an octopus. It's a bit of a Tear Jerker when Mr. Rictus points out that the fat, pleading slob with the hood over his head was once the scariest man in the world.
    • In a twist, the comic book heroes and villains Wanted's are based on are implied to be expies Wanted's "real life" versions, the comic book versions all that remain of humanity's knowledge of them after reality was edited.
    • An alternative interpretation on who the original Killer might be? Check out his boots in the first scene as he chases after the assasins. Boots with intricate webbed detailing, walking on walls, crazy reflexes, unerring aim ... does anyone else think of a middle-aged, bisexual, gun-toting Peter Parker?
  • Five-Bad Band: For both Rictus and Seltzer's gangs
  • For the Evulz: This is specifically stated to be Mr. Rictus' entire philosophy. At least he's up front about it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Wesley Gibson-beginning of series: harmless nebbishy doormat. Wesley Gibson-end of series: remorseless murderer and rapist. Ironically, this is also Mr. Rictus' origin. He was a kind and giving(though unremarkable) man who had a near-death experience and found out there was no heaven or hell. Upon realizing that all his good deeds had been ultimately useless, he pretty much said screw it all and decided to spend the rest of his life doing whatever the hell he wanted.
  • Gambit Roulette: Everything is masterminded by Wesley's father since he's hated how his mother raised him to be a "pussy" while The Killer still wanted to be a supervillain, so he made Wesley "man up" in his mind to take his place since age is catching up to him.
    • It's even possible that Villains on both sides dying until Wesley gets North and South America was part of the plan. Consider that Wesley's father appears not a moment after Wesley kills Rictus. Shit, there's wanting the best for your son, and then there's turning him into the ruler of two continents.
  • Genocide Backfire: Mr. Rictus, bored silly after years without a decent opponent, attempts to deliberately invoke this trope by slaughtering a young boy's parents in front of him, in the hopes that he will eventually come looking for revenge.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: All Fraternity members wear pins bearing the Fraternity symbol, or drive cars with it on the licence plate. This allows them to commit any crime, in full view of police and dozens of witnessess and just walk away.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: Johnny Two Dicks is Composite Character of Two-Face and Scarface who is a meek bystander who is controlled by his evil side... who talks through Johnny's penis. Yes, really.
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Wesley and The Fox are fond of this one.
  • Gun Fu: Wesley and his dad are the undisputed kings of this in the series.
  • Gun Kata: Wesley's powers allow him to know just where and when to shoot.
  • Hannibal Lecture: At the end of the series, Wesley gives one to the audience because they suck compared to him. Of course, the fact that Wesley is nothing more then a comic book character makes shutting him up as easy as closing the book.
    • However this is the equivalent of walking away from an argument because you have nothing to say in return...
    • Sure thing Wesley, we'll listen. Just give us genetic super powers, millions of dollars and reality warping friends.
      • Oh yeah, and say something beyond what's printed in your speech bubbles.
  • The Hedonist: Nearly everyone in The Fraternity. Which is bad for the universe at large since the thing that makes supervillains feel good is petty evil on a good day and vicious genocide on a bad one.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Wesley's costume, a black leather full bodysuit with several guns and knives attached.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The whole point of the story in regards to Silver Age superheroics.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Mr. Rictus, who turned evil because he found out there was no afterlife, and decided to just do whatever the hell he wanted for the rest of his life. And it turns out he wants to do some evil, evil shit.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Mr. Rictus is seen eating someone.
    • The looks on Adam-One and The Emperor's faces suggest it may have been Setzer. Considering who killed him, and how, one hopes that corpse was thoroughly cleaned.
  • Important Haircut: Wesley goes from hippie dreadlocks to an Eminem-style crewcut to show how he goes From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In case you missed it earlier, Wesley shoots the wings off a couple of quarter-inch long houseflies. And walks through a police station and shoots every cop in the place squarely between the eyes...even when he isn't looking.
  • Insult Backfire "I don't fuck goats Wesley, I make love to them."
  • Legion of Doom: The Fraternity.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Wesley and his allies are ever so slightly better than their opponents, which makes it possible to root for them.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Setzer, he even admits that he's probably certifiably nuts.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Mr. Rictus tries to pull off the whole "nice suit" deal, but it's kind of ruined by the fact that his face and hands look like rotting hamburger.
  • The Masquerade: Ostensibly this is to keep superheroes from across the multiverse from coming to this universe and saving the world. It has the added effect of making everyone completely ignorant of how things actually work.
  • The Mole: Sucker is this for Mr. Rictus.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Fox, a hot, nymphomaniacal chick who wears leather and a pair of fox ears.
  • The Multiverse: To satisfy their supervillainous leanings, The Fraternity often raids other universes for treasure, as well as some trivial things.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Or rather, no superheroes were harmed.
  • Not My Driver: Shithead kills Seltzer this way.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Professor Setzer doesn't look that threatening, does he? Now look at him again, while remembering that he personally killed Superman.
    • Worse: During the rewrite of reality, he made him into a quadriplegic.
  • Oh Crap: Subjective, but each issue has at least one such moment
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Wesley's boss finds extreme sadistic glee in tormenting him daily.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The stated purpose of The Fraternity. They've already conquered the world, and all they want is their pleasures. Widespread chaos threatens that. Solomon Seltzer just wants to party and practice Mad Science. The Emperor just wants to party and run his empire. Adam-One just wants to party and enjoy his eternal life. However, the heroic genocide required more firepower than the three of them had, so they had to make alliances and therefore share power with less pragmatic types. The Future just wants to party and slaughter the inferior races. And Mister Rictus just wants to party While Rome Burns.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted; they're neither pretty nor little.
  • Reality Warper: At times it is subtly hinted that The Killer's powers make mundane objects like lead bullets and steel blades deadly to entities who would otherwise be immune.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This is the only reason most people don't put the book down within reading the first 15 or so pages. Some of Wesley's actions after joining The Fraternity are flat-out disgusting if not horrific, and only their being in a comic book makes them tolerable.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity: Many of the characters feel like they were given to Millar by a 12-year-old trying to be "adult".
  • The Reveal: Several, though perhaps the most jarring is Wesley's dad being alive, having faked his death in order to jumpstart Wesley's down the path of the supervillain.
  • Rewriting Reality
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Wesley narrates a very detailed montage of him killing every single person in his life that gave him grief. And later, Wesley and The Fox go on one of these after Mr. Rictus tries to kill them.
  • Rule of Cool: They fly a jet through the portal back to their dimension in the second book. The portal inside of an office building. And all of this is part of a heist to steal a radioactive condom.
  • Shiny New Australia: One of Mr. Rictus' grievances is that, when the villains divvied up the continents, he got stuck with Australia.
  • Shout-Out: The series is stuffed with them. Seriously, there's probably enough to make an entire page.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Part of Mr. Rictus ensemble. Red ones at that.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Mr. Rictus' idea of running roughshod over the world instead of staying in the shadows is repeatedly shot down by the other Fraternity heads, because if they did so, heroes from other realities would most likely show up to stop them and The Fraternity would lose everything. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rictus doesn't care.
  • The Sociopath: Mr. Rictus. Ohhhh, boy, Mr. Rictus.
  • Stupid Evil: Rictus is proud to be this.
  • Talking Poo: Shithead, a Clayface Expy creature made of the feces of the 666 most evil people in the world, including Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Take That: Wesley. Again. At you. Because, well, This Loser Is You, You Bastard.
  • This Loser Is You:

 Wesley: "This is my face while I'm fucking you in the ass."

Notes

  1. Yes, Wesley's marksmanship abilities are genetic, but aside from that he doesn't have any powers.
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