The Leading Man

The Leading Man is a lightweight adventure story that combines the roles of star and spy. After reading, the only impression I’m left with is the expectation that this will go over well as a Hollywood pitch: the folks making those decisions seem to love stories about the movies whose point is to show how glamorous and special the movie business is.

The Leading Man cover
The Leading Man
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Nick is the lead of an action movie filming in France. One co-star is a slumming Oscar winner; the other is a TV actress doing her first film. Nick is also a spy, whose agency selects his film roles based on where he needs to go for missions. His personal assistant is his agency contact, while his agent is his spy boss.

The characters feel real, if superficial (which adds to the verisimilitude, since both careers are all about projecting the right surface), but the story is forgettable and by-the-numbers. For my taste, there was too much action (which, even with Haun’s best efforts, looks stiff on the page and can’t live up to the immediacy of live action), and not enough of the career comparisons.

For example, early on, we find out that Nick’s codename is Agent Twelve because that was his ranking on the People magazine 50 Sexist People list. By the middle of the book, though, that kind of clever observation has disappeared in favor of generic shoot-outs and taking people prisoner and explosions and too much expository dialogue. I blame the original miniseries format… I suspect the writer was making sure that the readers remembered the situation during the one-two months between issues.

For an action movie on paper, it’s not bad… but why would you want an action movie on paper?

The creative team previously worked together on Battle Hymn: Farewell to the Golden Age, and I interviewed the two at Heroes Con 2006. Moore also wrote the retro adventure Hawaiian Dick.


One Response to “The Leading Man”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Apr. 2, 2007: My agenda Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson examines B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun’s The Leading Man. [...]




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