Kevin Hawkins, that is. He’s a career S.A.S. man, a successful and still-living veteran of one of the toughest special forces units in the world. And yet he’s a loser, in the Garth Ennis meaning of the word; bad things just keep happening to the poor guy. He makes some bad decisions, but so do we all. The suffering inflicted on Kev for his bad decisions, however, are downright operatic. And hilarious.
Previously his exploits have tangled him up with the Authority, who are, if you’re not familiar, sort of a megalomaniacal and awesomely overpowered version of the Justice League. Kev manages to find himself at odds with them quite a lot, and because this is an Ennis comic, he more often than not makes asses out of them.
There are no superheroes in A Man Called Kev, the newest and fourth of the Kev series. There’s just the man himself, a lifetime of dirty government work to escape from, and—of course—a lot of absurdly hilarious situations involving male nudity. If you’ve read any of the Kev books before, you know what to expect here. If not, take heart—previous continuity appears not to be necessary.
There’s a curious underscore of melancholy to Kev’s life, plagued as he is by One Damn Thing After Another. The average joe forever altered by dirty government is a familiar Ennis theme, and came to the fore most prominently in The Magnificent Kevin. The point being, I guess, that while it’s one thing to laugh at a man’s life being an endless series of pratfalls, it’s quite another thing to live that life.
It’s a fragile mix, and The Magnificent Kevin suffered for it. A Man Called Kev handles easier and cleaner, and has no less than four laugh-out-loud moments. It’s good, clean fun.
Okay, except for the “clean” part.