Comic book gem: Kick-Ass
So I’m always on the lookout for new comics to read and my comic-reading friends have got my back big time. Yesterday my buddy Rick suggested I read a pretty recent comic mini-series called Kick-Ass by Mark Millar (Marvel Civil War) and John Romita Jr. (World War Hulk). So far I’ve read issues 1-6 out of an 8 issue run and I have to say I am super-impressed.
Kick Ass follows the story of Dave, a 16 year old high school student who, following the death of his mother, retreats into a world of XBox and comic books. He’s not the class nerd, nor is he super cool. Dave is just an average kid who, one day, decides to put on a costume and fight crime. What makes this story special though is that it is set in a world where there are no superheroes, no costumed avengers and the thought of such people is laughed at… the real world… our world, in New York City. So Dave wanders the streets for a while looking for someone to bust but when he confronts a street gang spraying graffiti he is beaten, bottled, stabbed and run over leaving him near death and in hospital for months.
At first Dave vows never to put on the costume again and burns his comic books in a rage of embarrassment. Soon, however he realises that he’s got the superhero bug and nothing will make him go back. Of course he gets his ass beat again, but this time he manages to save someones life and the act is caught on video and the superhero, “Kick-Ass” is born. Dave becomes braver and more confident than ever and creates a MySpace page for Kick-Ass so that people can get in touch with their hero.
I won’t really go into much else of the plot because I don’t want to spoil it but what I will say is; what happens next amounts to some of the most brutal, violent and bloody comic book action I’ve ever seen. New, awesome characters are introduced and a dark back story develops. It puts the comic in perspective when you see a 10 year old girl open a guy’s head like a pez dispenser using a samurai sword or putting a table leg through a grown man’s neck while answering her dad’s history questions on a hands free kit.
The story is dark and engaging, classic Millar and the artwork by John Romita Jr is excellent as well, a marked improvement from his work in World War Hulk (I loved that series but I wasn’t so keen on the artwork.) The dialogue took some getting used to and unfortunately I still find it to be a little bit forced in some areas but over all it’s impressive. This is an adults comic, no doubt about that. There’s no ^%$* in place of swear words and there is at least one use of the ‘C’ word. There’s also some nudity.
The issues that Dave has to deal with span the full spectrum of human emotion ranging from dealing with the realisation that he is a heavy burden to his widowed father to having to pretend to be gay so he can get close to the girl of his dreams. It’s fantastic. The characters are developed well without you even realising it. It’s this type of writing that sets Kick-Ass apart. Anyone can develop a character but doing it in a way that makes it invisible takes a talent like Mark Millar.
All of these things come together to make a series that is crackingly original. What worries me, though, is the looming Hollywood movie that, oddly, was started before the first issue of Kick-Ass even hit the shelves. It’s set to star Nicolas Cage and Christopher Mintz Plasse (Yep, McLovin) the former of whom is the source of my worries. The character he is set to play; Big Daddy is a broad, muscular leader… not a skinny, bug-eyed possible child molester. Vin Diesel would have been great in the role. But, whatever. I’m not here to discuss the movie. The comic is what it’s all about. Go buy it now. You won’t regret it!