(Because of the more filthy nature of the book, I may be using a little more colorful language than usual. Not gonna use too many curse words, but the language in the book is on par with Pulp Fiction, so its a little hard to avoid when talking about it. Just putting a little warning out there)
This is a book you are going to be hearing about in the near future. Trust me on this.
Written by one of my favorite writers, Mark Millar (The Ultimates and Wolverine: Old Man Logan) and drawn by one of my favorite artists, John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man), picking up this book was a no brainer. Set basically in the real world, it tells the origin of the titular character, Kick-Ass. Dave Lizewski (named after a contest winner) is your normal, self loathing nerd who dreams of having wild sex with Katie, the hot girl in school, but has to settle for images of Kitty Pryde and his hand. But as his actual life becomes worse as apathy takes hold of all those around him, even his widower father, Dave decides that the normal high school life is not what he wants. He asks why everyone wants to be Paris Hilton while no one wants to be Spider-Man and so instead of trying to make his way in the boring real world, he is going to become the world’s first hero. Armed with two batons and a wet suit, Dave proceeds to head out on patrol. After a few weeks of nothing but walking and working out at school, Dave finally decides to take on some gang bangers… and proceeds to get his ass kicked and he almost dies from stab wounds and being in a hit and run. Several months of rehabilitation and plenty of surgery later, Dave lands back on the street and fights more gang members, this time saving a man in front of a crowd (all while being filmed on a camera phone). In the YouTube culture that we live in, the footage of Dave’s rescue makes his persona, Kick-Ass, an instant celebrity. But Dave becomes part of something much bigger than him.
Mark Millar has written some of the most well known books in the past five years. He unmasked Spider-Man in Civil War and also wrote the dystopian future of Old Man Logan. He has also written some great mature reader books, most notable of which is Wanted, one of my favorite books about super villains who secretly rule the world. He knows how to tell an origin tale, but puts it through a fresh, 2000s lens that makes the tried and true story mold seem like it is new. He also is afraid to tell his stories, which leads to some great moments, both hilarious and shocking (often at the same time).
He makes Dave a real kid. This isn’t the big jock on campus, this is the nerd kid. The one that most teenagers feel they truly are. While most aren’t as pathetic as Dave, readers can connect with his desire to make his life something more than the mundane that most people accept. Millar has a flair for making a normal teenage seem like it is spirit crushing (mostly because to teenagers, it really is). This is a real world that the reader is looking in on. In the first two issues and seeing the world that Dave exists in, it is understandable that Dave would leap to such a bizarre conclusion for what he should do to break free. And Romita has never been better. I have always been drawn to his work. His think line work make the characters look bulky, but he always makes most characters lean and skinny, leading to a strange balance that he always makes work. Coupled with inker Tom Palmer, the art looks fantastic.
But like all of Millar’s work, delays plagued the bookl. It started in Feb. 2008 and just wrapped up Part 1, which was only eight issues. Millar is definitely becoming one of the troubled writers of comics, with his books always generating plenty of buzz, but always taking far too long to deliver. In this instance though, there might be room for forgiveness with the forthcoming adaptation of Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Stardust) and starring Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass, with Nic Cage and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in substantial roles as well. If you want to know what the comic is like, just check out the trailer that is shown on the film’s website (found below). It truly looks like it’ll kick ass.
Kick-Ass will be available in trade paperback soon and the film comes out April 16.
Artwork copyright of Marvel