Kick-Ass is another title put out by Icon Comics which is an imprint owned by Marvel Comics and is reserved for creator owned titles. I have been reading Criminal which is another Icon title for quite some time. I like creator owned titles and try my best to support them. I would rather the actual creators of a comic book get my money than some big faceless corporation who has a history of exploiting its talent.
Even though the previews for Kick-Ass failed to capture my interest, I decided to go ahead and give this title a try. My main reason for doing so is the wonderful creative team of Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. That is one talented duo and I simply had to believe that they would deliver a quality read. And they certainly did. I liked Kick-Ass #1 just fine, but it was the second issue of Kick-Ass that really hooked me into this title.
I have been remiss in not posting a review for Kick-Ass, yet. That is a shame, because smaller press titles like Kick-Ass deserve some publicity and support to get people interested in buying creator owned titles. So, I decided that it was definitely past time for me to crank out a review for Kick-Ass. I am confident that Kick-Ass #3 will be another strong read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Tom Palmer
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Dave Lizewski narrating how within twenty-four hours of him kicking ass on the Puerto Ricans who were attacking someone, that he became a star. That his beating of the Puerto Ricans was filmed and put on YouTube. He even got a nick-name: Kick-Ass. He was huge and all over the internet. He even got a salute from David Letterman and Jay Leno.
We cut to a man named Mr. Genovese arriving at his office. One of his assistants shows him the television and asks if he has seen the footage of the so-called “super-hero.” Mr. Genovese watches the video of Kick-Ass beating up the Puerto Ricans and mumbles “Oh, Jesus. Not another one.”
We shift to Dave at school the next day. He has a sudden newfound sense of attitude and confidence since he is wearing his costume under his clothes. He sits in class next to the hottie cheerleader of his grade: Katie Deauxma. Katie actually talks to him and they joke back and forth. Dave cannot believe that she is actually talking to him.
We hop forward to Dave hanging out with his best friend, Toddy Hayes. Toddy says that there is a rumor that Dave got beaten up in two muggings recently because he is pimping his ass in the village. That some of his clients beat him up and that is why he was found naked.
Toddy says that the rumor is that Dave is gay. That Katie doesn’t like him as a potential boyfriend. She likes Dave as her gay best friend. Dave is sick to his stomach that everyone, including Katie, thinks he is gay.
But, we then cut to several scenes with Dave playing along with the role as Katie’s gay best friend. We see them watching movies together and trying on big old lady hats together Dave thinks how he had no dignity, but he was just happy to be hanging out with Katie so much.
We shift to Dave talking with his father. Dave’s dad is worried that Dave has been mugged twice. Dave’s dad hands him a canister of pepper spray. Dave’s dad says he worries about his son and just wants him to be okay. Dave thinks how his dad is a great guy and how lying to his dad makes him feel crappy.
We cut to that night with Dave in his Kick-Ass costume. He is on a rooftop of a building. Dave thinks how he only has eight friends on his MySpace page. But, that Kick-Ass has thousands of friends on his MySpace page. Dave is ready to jump rooftops like super heroes do in comic books. Dave then gets to the edge and thinks that they are awfully high up in the air. Dave then says “Fuck this, I’m walking.” and he heads down the stairs.
We see Kick-Ass walking across town. We see a girl taking off her shirt and flashing her boobs at Kick-Ass as she yells out how awesome she thinks he is. Kick-Ass thinks how he decided to let people leave requests for his help on his MySpace page. Kick-Ass says he got one request from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend has kept crank calling her. The ex-boyfriend’s name is Eddie Lomas.
We see Kick-Ass entering the apartment building where Eddie lives. Kick-Ass goes up to the Eddie’s apartment door and comes face to face with a big black guy who sarcastically says that it is a little early for Halloween. Kick-Ass says that he is here to talk to Eddie. The big guy then lets Eddie into the apartment. Inside we see Eddie playing a video game while all his thug friends are hanging out and doing drugs.
Kick-Ass tells Eddie that his ex-girlfriend had him stop by and ask Eddie to stop making harassing phone calls. Eddie totally snaps and screams that he can do whatever the hell he wants to do. Eddie yells that he can see, talk to and fuck that bitch whenever he wants to. Eddie asks what Kick-Ass is going to do about that. Kick-Ass replies that he is going to ask Eddie to leave his ex-girlfriend along or Kick-Ass will break Eddie’s fucking legs.
Kick-Ass pepper sprays Eddie in the face. Eddie’s homies then rush Kick-Ass and proceed to beat Kick-Ass into the ground. Kick-Ass is nearly unconscious as Eddie stand back up. Eddie is about to kill Kick-Ass when suddenly someone stabs Eddie with a sword. Eddie falls to the ground dead and we see a small skinny kid in a goofy makeshift super hero costume like Kick-Ass.
The skinny little kid with the sword proceeds to slice the gut of one of Eddie’s thugs and then chops the thug’s head off. The skinny little kid turns to the remaining thugs and says “Okay you cunts. Let’s see what the rest of you can do.” End of issue.
The Good: Kick-Ass #3 was another entertaining read. I have to admit that Millar’s title has quickly grown on me. I thought Kick-Ass #1 was solid and certainly different from your typical super hero comic book. However, I had my reservations about the legs that this story had. I just didn’t see how Millar could keep the story going in an engaging fashion.
Well, clearly this story has more legs that I thought after the debut issue. Millar has completely captured my attention with this neat take on the super hero genre. What a brilliant concept to explore the super hero as a state of mind rather than actual super powers. Millar is showing the reader that being a super hero is about desire to fight crime and do the right thing rather than the ability to bend steel. That becoming a super hero simply takes attitude and a certain moral code instead of bizarre accidents, alien lineage or mutant genes. Millar explores why a person would want to put on a goofy costume and go out and get beat up on a regular basis.
Millar delivers another nicely paced issue. The story moves at a pleasant pace as it builds in intensity as we arrive at the brutal and bloody ending. Kick-Ass #3 is a tightly plotted read. Millar remains focused and never lets the story meander. Millar continually adds layer upon layer to what initially was a rather simple story.
Despite the name of this comic book, Millar isn’t only interested in delivering action scenes. Now, to be sure, each of the three issues of Kick-Ass sport some furious action scenes. However, the pleasant surprise to this title is that Millar is quite committed to delivering quality character building and dialogue heavy scenes.
Millar cranks out some nice dialogue. Each character has a well developed external voice. The edgy and salty dialogue gives this issue a gritty and realistic flavor. The dialogue also has such an easy and natural flow to it.
In general, Kick-Ass is a somewhat dark and very violent comic book. However, Millar wisely understands that there must be some sort of balance in order to keep this title from being too dark, violent and one-dimensional. Millar manages to sprinkle enough humorous scenes in this issue that keep the reader chuckling.
In Kick-Ass #3, Millar continues to have fun riffing off of the super hero genre. The scene with Kick-Ass on the rooftop of a building ready to patrol the city by jumping rooftop to rooftop in classic comic book fashion was hilarious. And his realization that such a mode of transportation is idiotic was perfect.
Millar continues to flesh out Dave’s character. With each issue, Millar has gotten me to like Dave more and more. Dave is a great character because he truly is the everyman. Even more so than Peter Parker. Yeah, Peter Parker has bad luck and everyday problems like the rest of us. But, at the same time, Parker gets a super model girl in Mary Jane and Peter has a genius level mind.
Dave, on the other hand, is truly the epitome of the average American kid. Dave is the invisible man of the 2000’s. The type of kid that goes unnoticed by society. He is a harmless looking skinny white kid. He isn’t a jock, he isn’t the class nerd, he isn’t a genius and he isn’t the class clown. He is that all around average kid that society completely ignores.
Dave isn’t an inner-city “troubled” teen that various private and public outreach programs are designed to benefit. He isn’t the type of teen that is the pride and joy of the world of academia. He isn’t the kid who displays some impressive artistic ability. He isn’t the kid who is the spoiled and pampered jock in the world of athletics. Dave is the epitome of the average white kid. The unloved nobody’s darling of America.
Millar was smart to use this type of character as his “super-hero.” This is the type of character that is attracted to being a super-hero because it makes him somebody. It makes him relevant. It gives him an identity and a purpose in a world in which he has been deemed completely irrelevant.
Millar uses little details to get across to the reader Dave’s rush of being a super-hero. Dave’s sudden newfound attitude and confidence at school stemming from him wearing his Kick-Ass costume under his regular clothes is a nice example of the little details Millar delivers in order to flesh out Dave’s character.
I loved the cruel twist that Katie, the girl that Dave is infatuated with, only begins talking and hanging out with Dave because everyone in the school thinks he is gay. The crushing realization that Katie views Dave as her gay best friend rather than a potential love interest was well done by Millar. And the best part is that Dave goes along with the perception that Katie has of him. Hey, this is also a pretty realistic reaction. I can totally understand Dave being willing to let Katie think he is gay just so he can hang out with her all the time.
This is a kid who normally doesn’t even get a girl to say “hi” to him. It makes sense that he would be willing to do anything to get the attention from a pretty girl like Katie. Of course, this sets the stage for the eventual moment when Dave reveals that he isn’t gay and then makes a pass at Katie. I’m sure rejection will be in Dave’s future when it comes to a possible relationship with Katie.
I enjoyed Millar’s use of the internet media that has become so ubiquitous in our society. MySpace and YouTube are likely sources to be use to lead to a massive wave of publicity for Kick-Ass. I like that Dave earns his fame and more importantly his nickname “Kick-Ass” via these forms of the new modern media rather than through the older traditional forms of media like the newspaper.
I am curious to learn more about Mr. Genovese. His comment about Kick-Ass being “Another one” piqued my interest. I’m curious to see where Millar goes with this plotline.
Millar delivers a fantastic hook ending to Kick-Ass #3. Talk about a stunning ending. I was not expecting that ending at all and my jaw was on the ground after I finished reading the final scene in this issue. I cannot wait to learn more about this skinny little kid with a big sword. Evidently, Kick-Ass is inspiring his own wave of non-traditional super heroes.
John Romita, Jr. supplies plenty of solid artwork. I know that some fans don’t dig Romita’s distinctive style of art, but I like it and it works well with the story that Millar is weaving.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue. However, I will say that if you are a more sensitive reader who is easily offended then I would not recommend you reading Kick-Ass.
Overall: Kick-Ass #3 was another great read. Millar and Romita are delivering such a breath of fresh air with this title. I love this unusual and non-traditional take on the super hero genre. I would definitely recommend Kick-Ass. This title has a great blend of well crafted stories, good character work, solid dialogue and plenty of wicked action.