Here at Geek we’ve really taken to Kick-Ass, even if some occasional comic buyers like myself had somehow missed the original material. Okay, it’s actually worse than missing the launch issue, because the Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. co-created story of superhero misadventures has actually been reprinted eight times since. While the comic content is unchanged, this new release to coincide with the movie is Issue 1 (really issue 9?) but it now has a movie image cover, and a probably superfluous splat announcing “Now a major motion picture”.
Having seen the movie, and now read this excellent comic I’m actually pleased I came to them in this order. Because, as hard as I initially found this to be, the movie is actually toned down from the comic exploits of Kick-Ass, Big Daddy, Hit-Girl and Red Mist. The violence as portrayed in the book would have certainly made the movie an 18 certificate and possibly subject of BBFC cuts. It also has some very adult language, and I hope nobody mistakenly picks this up in the comic section based purely on the cover and sends it along to their 7-year-old nephew without thumbing through.
But adult comic aficionados will find this is an exceptionally tight piece of graphic storytelling, which packs some substantial entertainment into the approximately 200+ pages.
Both Millar and Romita combine in these pages like a veritable comic book binary weapon, unleashing memorable characters, scenes and dialogue seemingly effortlessly. I especially love Romita’s drawing and design technique. Some of his pages are frame packed and then, like he’s pacing himself, he unleashes his stored energy on a single full page image with bags of potent symbolism. Some of the best of these in here feature the lethal but charming Hit-Girl and, as in the movie, she walks away with being the icon of this piece when the dust finally settles.
I feel somewhat uneasy about not really finding fault with Kick-Ass, like others have, for not being entirely original or excessively violent. But I didn’t really see those as substantial enough flaws to detract from its higher values, as such. And, with this fantastic artwork selling for £9.99 (or less), then if you do love comics, you really need to have this one in your collection if you don’t have it already.
Myself, I found a much deeper understanding of the choices the movie made by reading the source material, which differs in some subtle but important ways. The film is more a distillation of the comic, but manages to capture enough of the essence. Yet, having now absorbed the graphic novel, I’m keen and ready to see the movie again, able to take with me a slightly different mindset about some of the characters and their motives.
The comic, exactly like the film, has a set-up at the end for another book (or books), and in my review of the movie I wasn’t sure I wanted them to sully the original by taking that step. The second comic is coming, and probably the movie (unless nobody bothers to see it), so I’ll just have to hope that the further adventures of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are just as much fun as their first outing.
I still haven’t got an excuse why I hadn’t read this before, but I’m glad the movie inspired me to indulge in some wholesale Kick-Ass.