Maybe I’m just too squeamish

by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

As with all novels, I prefer graphic novels that have a complex storyline and meaty (though not necessarily likeable) main character. I don’t necessarily need multiple layers of meaning, but I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator or a bit of ambiguity. In terms of graphic novels, I greatly enjoyed The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and We3 but Kick-ass didn’t cut it. It’s simple, colourful fun and it’s also very brutal.

The thing is, you can usually get away with more violence in books than, say, film because you’re not depicting it – it’s left to the reader’s imagination. But here, the violence is drawn for you and, while it may not be photorealistic it’s real enough to make me squirm.

The story is pretty basic. Loser kid gets so fed up with life he decides to don a superhero costume and beat up bad guys. He researches in comics first and creates an online fanbase. But he has no real training and his only “ability” is a willingness to be beaten up to within an inch of his life over and over. Still, he enjoys being an internet sensation and it gives him something to get him through his “normal” life. But then copycats spring up all over and start to become as famous, or maybe more famous, than him. With better weapons. And who on earth are these people Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, who shy away from publicity and seem like they might have some actual training?

If you’re not bothered by violence and gore then this is great fun and I’m sure the film will be too. I may check it out, but I’ll admit that I’m in no hurry.

Published 2010 by Titan Books
ISBN 978-1-8485-6535-7

2 thoughts on “Maybe I’m just too squeamish

  1. talkie_tim June 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    You are too squeamish for grown up comics, aren’t you? This is why I don’t lend you Preacher.

    I just finished reading Kick-Ass myself. It’s pretty good, but I guess it’s about comic book nerds more than anything, and that culture isn’t quite so familiar to you.

    Thanks for the review though, that was a good read.

    PS. ‘Tunk’.

  2. Mess June 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I thought Kick-Ass was an exciting read and looked at some interesting concepts, although it had some trouble with how real the reality was supposed to be. Still, a good bit of violent escapism.

    You’re right though, not on the same level as the classics (I’m off to read WE3 again now).

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