Once in a while, lightening strikes and everything changes. When the Dark Knight Returns hit the stores, Batman would never be the same. Everything changed. When The Watchmen hit the stores, superhero’s became meta-textual. Everything changed. When Dave Lizewski tried to make a difference, violence in comics hit an all time high. Everything changed. Often times, companies try to recapture lightening, as if the creative spark that affected so many could be harnessed and used over and over again. It hardly works that way; take Dark Knight Strikes Again, DKIII and Before Watchmen as examples. Still things are looking up; The Doomsday Clock has been fantastic so far and now it’s time to Kick Ass!
Patience is done with her final tour of Afghanistan. Her final mission, a locate and rescue a colleague and his jeep from the back-end of enemy territory. Then it’s Stateside, to reunite with her hubby, who has been holding down the fort at home with their two children. Of course, plans of mice and men and the rules of comic books means that it will definitely not work out as planned. The reality of her plan is that her husband has left her with the kids and a shed load of debt. Running through her limited options, Patience decides to use her skill set and take back parts of her town. Enter a familiar green suit with yellow piping.
For many, this is a return to the book that Mark Millar and John Romita Jr were born to create. Whilst their work here is great, I would say Millar has been great for a while across all avenues of the comic book world and Romita Jr is an under appreciated artist at DC of late. Millar, known for deconstructing the hero is on a bit of a mission; reshaping his own creation this time. Whilst the circumstances may well have changed, along with gender and ethnicity, the idea of trying to take back an element of control in the main characters life remains the same. True, Dave very much lived a life of with no power comes responsibility, Patience is on a different tread, looking to take back for herself and her family, with the betterment of others lagging way behind, languishing in second place. Who can blame her? Relationships are hard at the best of times; being away from her family, living in a war zone, with a hubby who feels under valued holding the reins is just a recipe for disaster. Still, the fall from grace that accompanies Patience is massive, going from wiping out the bad guys to wiping potty bums!
John Romita Jr’s art on this book has a feel of an artist that has been able to throw of the shackles of having to draw icons, free from the constraints of “his ears are too long”, “why does Clark look Italian”, and “Wonder Woman isn’t curvy enough”. For the record, the ears were fine, Clark is Clark no matter how the pencils change the normal staid approach and are you crazy? Romita’s Diana was great, a true Amazon. Kick Ass gives JRJR the opportunity to tell the type of story, in a way that he wants. Here, the pacing is great, moving between fast action and the family break-up, the reader cannot help but get caught up in all the drama. When we finally get to see Kick Ass in action, JRJR doesn’t disappoint, with a slew of dirty tactics, Kick Ass certainly starts to earn her name. Peter Steigerwald is the gentleman responsible for helping out on digital inks and colors, with the latter being an almost sand blown affair that alludes to the fact that, if not her heart, at least her dreams of a better life lie in her memories of the desert.
Kick Ass was a great read the first time it came out. The polish of the story may have been tarnished with the sequels and as such, the two co-creators, Millar and Romita JR have taken the wise step of starting over. Does this mean that others from the shared universe will make an appearance? The answer is probably. Still, this book with its reimagined hero turned heroine may well continue to thrive.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Written by; Mark Millar
Art by; John Romita JR
Digital Ink & Colors – Peter Steigerwald
Published by: Image Comics