After the events of Kick-Ass, the titular ‘superhero’ has a broken hand so the protection of the city is left to Hit-girl to deal with, solo. The rub? Her policeman stepfather knows of her secret identity and has made her promise to leave that side of her life behind and embark on the life of an average little girl, school and all, for her mother’s sake. How does one do that AND take down an entire criminal cartel? Meanwhile Red Mist goes into training to become the ultimate supervillian.
Slowly but surely the boundaries of extremes have been broadening in mainstream comics since those earlier days of Vertigo in such titles as Hellblazer and Preacher. As with all entertainment mediums some pioneers of extreme/graphic violence and language have a sense of knowing humour and irony that, while not preventing the outcome from being gratuitous in some respects, does add extra layers that give the viewer an opportunity to smile at the vileness. Others, well, don’t really get it (see the majority of the 80’s ‘video nasty’ craze).
Writers such as Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar and recently David Lapham have led the way in having us gasping in incredulity at the sheer sick or bizarreness of their mind vomit, which has perhaps reached its natural zenith, first with the Hit-Girl character in the original Kick-Ass series and then as a whole with the Avatar Press’s outrageous Crossed. So the question now is, can we be shocked anymore? Perhaps not, as it turns out, but a good writer will always be able to surprise us; more importantly, does it matter?
To those who aren’t just seeking outrageousness for its own sake, it shouldn’t; violent extremes, at this point, should just be another tool for talented writers to use within genuinely engaging stories, but be that as it may, who could have predicted that reading a comic series about a little girl murdering criminals in vastly creative ways would’ve become almost standard? It’s an amusing thought.
With that in mind, the Hit-Girl miniseries, a story that bridges the events of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, ‘suffers’ by the fact that its shock value has been slightly muted, not because it is any tamer than Kick-Ass but because we know what to expect, which in most respects describes the series in general.
If you’ve followed the Kick-Ass series’ to date, you can expect more of the same, only with MUCH more Hit-Girl, which is to say an entertaining and funny story with a few twists and turns accompanied by fantastically solid artwork provided by series mainstays, John Romita Jr, Tom Palmer with richly painted colours by Dean White.
You’d actually be better served by not viewing Hit-Girl as it’s own series at all, but an extension to Kick-Ass 2, it’s that similar in feel and narrative. Indeed, writer Mark Millar views this to be the case to such an extent that the Follow-up Kick-Ass movie is actually a combination of both series’, laying equal importance on Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and, one assumes, Red Mist. Let’s hope that the aging of Chloë Moretz doesn’t hinder the spirit of Hit-Girl too much.
To those who only know of Kick-Ass through the movie, I would suggest that you don’t pick up Hit-Girl without first reading the original Kick-Ass series, the movie having taken numerous unnecessary and generic liberties with the direction of some of the characters.
So, definitely one to be recommended, especially if you’ve read and enjoyed the series up to this point.
B grade – for originality
B+ grade – for storytelling
B+ grade – for artwork
Overall grade – B+
Hit-Girl will be available in collected hardback from March 16th.