After the events of Kick-Ass, Dave Lizewski, the titular self-proclaimed ‘superhero’ (who largely saves the day by getting his ass kicked), finds himself the inspiration of many wannabe superheroes and joins the worlds first ‘super-team’. Meanwhile Hit-Girl has promised her stepfather that she will no longer act the part of the superhero but has made it her duty to train Dave up so that he doesn’t suck quite so much, but in the shadows Red Mist hires any number of ex-military and organised crime badassess to form his own league of ‘supervillains’ with a plan of havoc that is both insane and graphically violent.
If you’re a fan of the Kick-Ass movie and have a few fanboy mates, you’ve no doubt had to listen to them bang on about how pointless and detracting the changes made from the comicbook were, and as much as I’d like to rag on those changes a little, this review is for the comic’s sequel, so all you need to know is HOW the versions differ.
Basically, the comic makes more sense, when Dave tells his perspective girlfriend that he is not in actual fact gay, as he has been leading her to believe, rather than embracing him, she pushes him out of her bedroom window and counters his deplorable deception by sending him a photo her doing something unmentionable with the popular jock (with which you won’t believe what Dave does!). Second, Hit-Girl’s dad, Big Daddy, isn’t a Punisher-like, ex-cop, force for bloody justice after the murder of his wife, it transpires he’s just like Kick-Ass, a fanboy that decided to take up that mantle and used the vengeance thing as a cover story to get his daughter into it, as, being psychologically unstable, he kidnapped her as a baby, from his wife who is alive and well. And, third, there was no riding off into the sunset on a jetpack; in fact there was no jetpack at all, because that was an entirely stupid thing to happen! (mini-rant done).
The film was very successful, but thankfully writer, Mark Millar, has done very little to bridge the two medium’s versions of the story, Hit-Girl’s stepfather is the same guy that took her under his wing at the end of the movie, but that’s about it.
Of itself, Kick-Ass 2 is what a good sequel should be, more of the same, but somehow different and much, much bigger. In the pages of Kick-Ass Millar does what he does best, the bestest. Of course we are treated to lots of creative cussing and by this point we know we are going to encounter some extremely outrageous themes and scenes, but just when you’re expecting something horrendous, Millar will out do your imagination by a factor of two, then add a plot twist that is at once unexpected but at the same time wholly obvious, and it is because of this element of writing that I believe Millar has generated the following that he has… and it makes for great end of issue cliffhangers.
Whatever depths you may have thought constitutes the bottom of the barrel, in Kick-Ass 2 you may see worse, but this is a double edged sword. To people who shock easily, such scenes of graphic violence and depravity as can be found in Kick-Ass would at once turn them off of the comic, but to people of my own ilk such portrayals of the extreme only make us laugh out loud with delight.
Within these boundaries of extremity, legendary artist, John Romita Jr, revels in the kind of wild abandon that he would NEVER get away with in his regular Marvel work. Along with inker, Tom Palmer, Romita supplies artwork of unparalleled storytelling solidness and pacing, in that deceptively simple style that is unmistakably JRJR. Add in to the mix colourist Dean White (Uncanny X-Force), perhaps one of the most recognisably distinctive talents in the industry today, who supplies rich, digitally painted colour work that brings out Romita’s style and places it amongst his career best.
The climax is grand and satisfying and ends with the suggestive tag “End of book three”, though it’s only the second storyline, suggesting that the upcoming Hit-Girl series will bridge the two Kick-Ass books. I will certainly be giving it a look.
I loved Kick-Ass 2, but whether you will too is purely dependent on your personal views toward taste and Millar’s work in general.
A- grade – for storyline
B grade – for artwork
A grade – for pacing
Overall grade – B+
Kick-Ass 2 has just finished coming out in single issue form and will be available as a single hardcover volume from June.