Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Review by: Thomas Braaksma
These days most people watch movies and television to get their entertainment fix. Comic books usually get tossed to the side and at times mocked as an irrelevant form of media, at least until a movie is made about them. In the case of Kick-Ass, even though a movie was in mind from the conception of the book, it hardly seems necessary to have any other interpretation of this almost perfect comic book.
Reading Kick-Ass is a much better option than, say, renting Law Abiding Citizen or whatever number Saw movie studios are pumping out this year. Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. take a concept that every comic fan has at some time fantasized about – putting on a costume and pulling a Batman on some bad guys – and put together a truly inspired, truly original and highly entertaining book.
For people who have been under a rock the past couple months, Kick-Ass is a comic book about a high school guy named Dave Lizewski who has had it with his run of the mill, average life. He decides to put on some tights and do what every kid has fantasized about at some time – fight crime like a superhero. This leads to realistic results, and definitely not what he had been expecting from reading his comics. Along the way he encounters people with the same passion for superheroes, including a weed-smoking hero named Red Mist, and the ultra-violent duo of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl.
Kick-Ass is a love letter from Mark Millar to comic books. It has so many perfectly delivered references to fan boy life and a genuine love for comics. Kick-Ass is Millar’s origin story for what it would be like if superheroes started showing up in our own world. It doesn’t occur in Metropolis, or in a mutant-filled world, but in the real world, the Big Apple. Kick-Ass is what would happen if the hero phenomenon actually caught on, actually made a bit of a difference.
That’s what makes Kick-Ass so relatable. Besides the fact that every comic lover thought about being a superhero at some age, this story gives the reader the ability to believably see what it would be like with superheroes in the world today. The fact that no one has written this before is actually shocking.
Mark Millar is spot-on once again for this comic. The faint of heart should note that once again Millar delivers a heavy amount of violence and profanity, but none of it seems forced, or cussing for the sake of cussing. But as Hit-Girl says in the book, “What is this? The Silver Age?” So the violence and profanity has its place. The writing is more like a well-delivered script than what readers get from a lot of comics today. The story brings readers in and it’s easy to forget that it’s just a comic and not something unfolding on the big screen.
Millar knows how to drag readers from panel to panel, and drop them off wanting to read the next issue that second. The book has everything from lines that will make readers laugh out loud, cringe at the extremely graphic violence and even get choked up at the sentiment. Kick-Ass would have been torture to be waiting a month or so for the next issue. This hardcover trade was well worth the wait, even though it was delayed at least once.
John Romita Jr. is one of the best artists out there today, hands down. And if any other person would have drawn Kick-Ass, it definitely would have suffered. The ultra-violence is displayed almost without flaw, with Romita’s gritty artwork. Readers will fall in love with the characters they encounter, especially Romita’s drawing of the most adorable killer in the history of anything, Hit-Girl.
Hit-Girl is one of the best parts of Kick-Ass. Romita draws her so that even when she is shoving a samurai sword through someone’s neck, or shooting off someone’s manhood, she is still as cute as a button. John Romita Jr. has been a pillar at Marvel for some time, but this might be his best work to date. The panels are spot-on to a classic comic book and always convey the story in a completely coherent way. As an added bonus, on the very last page of the trade, readers get one last piece of Romita’s work with a movie poster of the characters in the film versions of their costumes.
Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. bring comic lovers of all ages the closest to the possibility of actually being a superhero, or at the least seeing what it would be like if it happened in the real world. Kick-Ass is a must-have addition to any comic fan boy’s collection. Even for people who are just casual superhero lovers, or even just comedy and action lovers, Kick-Ass will entertain just about anyone.
Kick-Ass Premiere Hardcover collects issues #1-8 of Kick-Ass.
For more info, www.marvel.com
Pads & Panels purchased a copy of the book for review purposes.