It’s a joke they’d throw the book at me

kick-ass-3Kick-Ass 3
by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

I have mixed feelings about Mark Millar (as you’ll see from my reviews of The Secret Service: Kingsman and the first Kick-Ass) but he does spin a good yarn, and those I’m a fan of. This is the fourth part of a series (yes, for confusing reasons, number 3 is part 4), so this review may contain spoilers for the previous books. (Actually, it absolutely does.)

Kick-Ass is 18 now and his Justice League of costumed self-proclaimed superheroes is well established, but are they ready to face the big time? Their one member/friend who had the balls and skills to fight big scary criminals is Hit-Girl and she’s locked away in prison, thanks to Chris Genovese, nephew of terrifying mafia boss Rocco Genovese. Now Chris is in hospital in critical condition while Uncle Rocco is intent on taking over all organised crime on the East Coast. Can Kick-Ass and co step it up to fight the new super mafia that’s forming? Or can they at least break Hit-Girl out of prison so she can lead the way?

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Maybe I’m just too squeamish

Kick-ass
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