Review: Kick-Ass #8

This is my first foray into the rebooted Kick-Ass and the life and times of Patience Lee.  While Dave Lizewski was the every man who had a predilection for taking a beat down in the name of justice Patience seems to be a different animal all together.  A combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, Patience is an accomplished fighter and has a keen tactical mind so one would expect that the challenges she will face will be much different than her spiritual predecessor in green spandex.

This issue opens with Patience in a particularly difficult situation and her tactical acumen and fighting abilities are on full display as she avoids this perilous predicament.  Later we find her grappling with life issues in her tiny apartment as she juggles the responsibilities of mother, sister and vigilante anti-hero.  I say anti-hero not crime-fighter as it is quickly apparent that while Justice has no problem seeing criminals locked up or executed her ultimate goal is to secure financial well being for herself and the less fortunate of her community.  As the issue wraps Justice and her actions as Kick-Ass are left in perilous jeopardy as an enemy (who is much too close for comfort) appears poised to return into her life and ruin her work.

You might be thinking to yourself, sign me up where do I get this book?  I’d like to put myself in that category but there are numerous problems in the execution and writing in what appears to be a book with some very good groundwork to build upon.

As a veteran I am sympathetic to Patience as she seems to exhibit some signs of PTSD.  However, Steve Niles fails to scratch the surface and explore the myriad of possibilities for this character.  At one point in the book Patience is trapped and on the verge of death as she is confronted by no less than six armed opponents.  She flashes back to her time in combat while serving in Afghanistan, a common occurrence for those suffering from PTSD.  However Niles leaves it at that and Patience responds with a cold detached display of martial prowess that ultimately leads to her victory.  The character would be so much more believable if we saw her struggle with the secondary affects of flashbacks; violent emotional swings and even uncontrolled anger or sobbing.  To see her overcome these challenges and emerge victorious would endear us to this character while also putting a face to the struggles those with PTSD cope with.  In contrast, later scenes give us manufactured angst as she struggles to pay bills because she refuses to take more than a “soldier’s pay” out of the money she is purloining from New Mexico’s underworld.  Ma’am, you are leading a bunch of hardened criminals in a de facto war under war time conditions.   Give yourself a promotion to general officer with combat pay, pay your bills and take the kids out to Red Lobster.  Finally, in what should be a heart wrenching conversation with her sister both of them appear to be completely relaxed and show no more emotion than one might display when talking about the new drapes in the living room.

I enjoyed the artwork very much and as you can see by the image to the right Marcelo Frusin and Sunny Gho deliver some stunning visuals.  Some panels are drawn with stark lines and colored in flat two tone shades that evoke feelings of darkness, danger and grittiness.  Others, like the panel at the bottom of the image, show Kick-Ass in fully rendered comic book glory.  The artwork is impeccable here with her pose being dynamic, powerful and excellently drawn and colored.    That being said, there are many times in the book where I’m wishing that the art team had taken more time to show me the emotions and inner struggles that the character is describing to me.  At one point in the story Patience is walking calmly through a hospital while agonizing internally  How much better could the book have been if they had given me one panel of angst at home or even a close up of a subtly clenched fist as she struggles with her inner dilemma?

Writing 2 of 5 stars
Artwork 3 of 5 stars
Overall 2 of 5 stars

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Writer – Steve Niles
Artist – Marcelo Frusin
Color – Sunny Gho
Design and Production – Melina Mikulic