Posted November 26, 2021 by Ica Hontiveros-Cheng in Comics

Review: King of Spies #1 -A thrilling new comic book from Mark Millar!


The opening pages of Mark Millar’s ‘King of Spies’ (a four-part comic book series) takes us back in time in 1990, Panama City. As you go through the skillfully illustrated panels by artist Matteo Scalera, you can’t help but feel that you are reading a James Bond or Jason Bourne film.

Super spy-extraordinaire Ronald King is jumping off buildings, executing perfect head shots, and piling up the body count at an alarming rate.

I was extremely amused by a part of this “mission impossible” when our protagonist, Ronald falls inside an ambulance carrying a woman in labor. Amidst the explosions and dangerous driving, the baby shoots out of their mother like a rocket. I had to stifle a laugh, because I actually witnessed something similar while on duty in the delivery room as a student nurse. Yes, they really “fly out” like that and seeing that translated onto a comic book panel was indeed amusing.


“Ronald’s a good name for a boy.”  Our hero cheekily tells a most probably perplexed new mother, before he runs out of the ambulance, killing soldiers along the way.

After the action sequence (which also included jumping onto a plane and more shooting and killing) the reader is taken to present day London, where Ronald is now a shell of his former super spy self.  Old, with a bit of a belly and seeing the bottom of a glass of Macallan more often than he would like to admit. Ronald starts to reflect on the life that he has lived. He thinks about the sacrifices he’s had to make, the wife he set aside, the son who has come to hate him.

With death, coming at him, closer each day, Ronald decided that its time for one last mission, to make a real difference.

I went into the comic book, not really knowing anything about the story but I was quickly drawn into this violent world of a retired operative. While we haven’t had a shortage of Ethan Hunts, James Bonds or Jason Bournes, seeing this kind of character as old, jaded, doubtful and dying is not an often-examined character arc. ‘King of Spies’ effectively looks into this narrative, so much so that you can feel the regret that Ronald feels. Despite his adventure-filled life, he is haunted by what he has given up in order to ‘do what is right’. Yet, seeing that the world he has helped built, is filled with “old monsters”, Ronald is going after “the presidents, kings, crooks and hypocrites and is going to make them pay for wasting his life”. Its one last mission, for a man near Death’s door and has nothing to lose.   

King of Spies comes out on December 1, 2021.

Ica Hontiveros-Cheng

Geek mom to a little Jedi. Freelance writer. Writes and vlogs thoughts, and reviews on movies, series and pop culture.