Kick-Ass #1 (2018)
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Review by Evan Maroun
If you’re reading this right now, you’ve no doubt had the thought at one point or another: Being a superhero would be incredible. I mean, you have your daily acts of heroism, the fame, and you get to put a stop to evil guys– what’s not to like? Well, that’s what Dave Lizewski thought too. Turned out that being a superhero in the real world was not quite the same as the guys in tights hitting store shelves every month had made it seem. However, 28 issues and 2 movies later, Dave eventually decided to pursue a fairly normal life.
Now, another person has decided to take up a similar green wet-suit. But this time, for very different reasons.
In Kick-Ass #1, Millar introduces us to Patience Lee, a black military veteran. After a worrying flashforward, we get a look at Patience back in the thick of it with some enemy soldiers. Being outnumbered 4 to 1, she executes a pretty risky plan and succeeds. Right away, this shows us that Patience is not somebody to mess with, as she clearly has some useful skills to go along with that familiar suit we see her in on the cover. Her home life is another story. Millar shows us that in addition to being a strong soldier, she is also a loving mother. Her family welcomes her home with open arms, very happy to see her. Not everything is perfect though. They have some news, and it’s not the kind of news you want to find out after getting back from a tour. No spoilers here, but I will say, that’s where the bad news starts piling up for Patience. She doesn’t want to put on a mask; she feels she has too.
Millar knows what he is doing. Kick-Ass has always been a comically dark, satirical look at the superhero genre that flips the script on a lot of its cliches. Here though, it feels a bit different. More serious. It works well because he adapts to this new character with different motivations and personality. Dave started as a nerdy teenager who didn’t shy away from masturbation and crude humor. Here, we have an adult, who is not only more mature but has more on her plate initially. She doesn’t want to do this for the hell of it or to live out some fantasy. Her goal is an understandable and sympathetic one.
Co-creator John Romita Jr. also returns to keep the series spirit alive with his distinctive style once again. Having read every issue of the last iteration of the series, seeing him return had me letting out a sigh of relief. It’s almost hard for me to imagine Kick-Ass without Romita. The way he draws characters, specifically their expressions, was one of the main reasons I was drawn to the series in the first place. Between Millar’s dialogue and Romita’s expressions, you grow to understand and feel for the characters. That seems like it will still be the case here with Kick-Ass #1. Romita also does a stellar job of drawing these characters in fully realized environments; no simplified or half-assed background work, but detailed places with depth. To me, this has always helped push the fact that these characters reside in a sort of hyper-reality. If it weren’t for the ultra-violence and well, the existence of Hit-girl, the world wouldn’t be much different from ours. Actions can have real (and oftentimes deadly) consequences for the characters, and that’s a big reason why I’m interested in seeing how Patience goes about this dangerous task.
Verdict: Buy it.
If you have been a fan of Kick-Ass before, Kick-Ass #1 will be more of what you love, but with some smart and fresh changes to the formula. If you have never gotten into the series, this is absolutely the time to jump on. No prior knowledge needed.