Comic: "Kick-Ass: Book One"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 2/8/2010

Plot: Dave Lizewski wants to live in a world of super-heroes. So he becomes one.

Review: Much like Mark Millar's other creator-owned property that got turned into a (terrible) movie, Wanted, Kick-Ass is the story of an everyman who gets whisked into a life of excitement and adventure (though the upcoming film for this looks to be much more faithful to the source material, if the trailers are any indication...fucking "Loom of Fate", my ass). The difference here is that while the protagonist of Wanted got sucked into the life against his will, comics fan Dave Lizewski wants to live in a world of super-heroes so badly that he decides to become one. He has no super-powers (nor does anyone in the Kick-Ass universe)--he simply has an indominable will and an overwhelming desire to avenge crime, masked vigilante style.

It's a simple yet compelling premise, and seeing our teenage hero dealing with things like how to approach the girl he likes, how to come up with a hero's costume, and how he gets his ass totally handed to him on his very first outing (which has him in the hospital for an extended stay) ground the story in reality but keep you coming back to find out what's going to happen next.

Characters like Hit-Girl and Big Daddy are barely more than Frank Miller caricatures, but since their role in the story is largely on the story's outskirts until the end, when they become quite pivotal, it's hardly something to hold against the book. The brief times where we see them at work in the earlier parts of the book are really fun to witness, and Hit-Girl's parade of unbelievable violence will have you voicing a "kick ass!" or two yourself. (Though I'm curious to see if the movie has the balls to take things as far as the comic regarding the horrors inflicted by such a young girl, and if they do, how such things will be accepted by a movie audience).

The exploits of Kick-Ass may be slightly exaggerated with regard to how much physical punishment he can take, but not by terribly much. There's little that goes on in this book that isn't actually possible, however unlikely. The main character is often wearing a cast or in the hospital between "adventures". If you're looking for a super-hero slugfest, you won't find it here--there are very few costumes in the book, since this is about how Kick-Ass himself starts the trend, but the sequel they've set up will no doubt offer up some costumed villains as well (there will definitely be at least one, as readers of the first volume already know).

The choice of John Romita Jr. for artist here is quite remarkable--he's not an artist I would have thought capable of drawing such extreme violence. Not because his style isn't suited to it so much as I've just never seen him do anything quite like this. But it works very, very well. His depictions of Hit-Girl's action scenes and their aftermath leave little doubt as to the degree of carnage taking place here.

It's hard to believe that two of the most well-known names in comics worried that they wouldn't be able to get this "little" creator-owned Icon book noticed, but they really went to great lengths to promote it, including making a viral YouTube video featuring the aftermath of one of Kick-Ass's fights, long before there was even the suggestion of an actual Hollywood movie being made from this. Well, it definitely got noticed, and with good reason--it may not be "clean" by any stretch of the imagination, but it sure as hell is plenty of fun.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Feb 9th, 2010, 10:13 PM
I loved the book, but I can't disagree more about the movie trailers. Looks like they pretty much ruined it and turned it into a pg-13 comedy to me. First off the costumes are completely off, with the heroes using cloth costumes even though kick-ass specifically says he made his costume from a wet-suit he ordered on ebay. Secondly there's not a single shot with hit-girl holding a sword... leading me to believe that that the action has been REALLY toned down. Also nick cage as big daddy? I mean the guy was named big daddy because he was BIG. So naturally hollywood picked the scrawniest, woosiest action hero ever to play him. Oh and the fact that he and the mist inexplicably have costumes so high-end they rival something out of batman forever doesn't fit well with their characters. (Hell, they practically look like batman and robin!) And mc-Glovin as red mist? I won't spoil it for those who haven't read the book, but he's completely unsuited for the character. And of course hit-girl looks like she came straight out of lazytown what with the neon purple bowl cut.

I really hate to go on about cosmetic issues, but the look of the trailers is very light-hearted for such a dark book. I also don't understand why they just don't make the characters look like they do in the book. If anything they've made them look MORE ridiculous on purpose.

But things that really tip me off to the awfulness is stuff like the little bit where he goes "I'm kick-ass" ah-la batman. The books really aren't funny at all and if that's what some people get from them then I pray for their mental health.

But here's the wierd thing..... that's all I got from trailer #2.... trailer #1.... that's incredibly violent (if not still horribly inaccurate). It's almost like they re-did the film to tone it down. I'm rather torn as to how this will turn out.
Amicable Herculean
Feb 9th, 2010, 11:48 PM
Hey Howard, do you honestly think anybody's gonna read all that?
The Magnificent Bastard
Feb 10th, 2010, 12:04 AM
I read it.

Anyway, I've never heard of this book before but it sounds fantastic!

I'll keep an eye out for it.
Feb 10th, 2010, 01:06 AM
I did too. If that's "too long, didn't read" to you, you need to work on your attention span. Seems pretty cool; might check it out.
Smooth Operator
Feb 10th, 2010, 02:41 AM
Still waiting for the 17th to roll around to find out what happens. But the story and art live up to the title.

And Howard, couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Nicholas Cage. Outside Raising Arizona has he made any movies worth watching twice?
Feb 10th, 2010, 01:03 PM
Ordered the book then watched the trailers. Looks to me that Howard is wrong.
LOVES the tubal ligation!
Feb 10th, 2010, 03:10 PM
Originally Posted by HowardC View Post
There. Shortened it up for you Captain.

But no really. Nick Cage is a terrible choice for Big Daddy I think. However no where near as terrible of a choice as making his costume look like this...

When they could have done more like..

Oh and yeah about Hit Girl having a sword... I noticed she pulled one out in the two trailers I watched. Seeing as it was just clips and what not it might have been from the same scene but she used it on two different people in what looked to be two different places. I obviously cant speak as to how much she busts out with it in the movie but she does definitely have one.
Space Cowboy
Feb 10th, 2010, 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by HowardC View Post
The books really aren't funny at all and if that's what some people get from them then I pray for their mental health.
Are you goddamn kidding me? You didn't think Kick-Ass was funny? One exchange in particular made me laugh OUT LOUD.

Mobster: "He doesn't have the balls. -Kick-Ass shoots him in the genitals- Oh my sweet Virgin Mary... HE SHOT ME IN THE FUCKING TUNK!"

Kick-Ass: "I can't believe how fast that shit caught on."

Granted, it's not wacky teen comedy funny, which is what the trailers pretty much look like, but it's still a funny comic if you have a sick sense of humor.

("tunk" was a word that Kick-Ass's friends at school came up with and asked him to help spread around, for those keeping score at home. A vulgar reference to one's "cock-and-balls": the male equivalent of "cunt")
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Feb 11th, 2010, 02:47 PM
@HowardC I cant really imagine the idea of focring an actor to wear a wetsuit for this sort of film. Im pretty sure he can claim it as a sport bodysuit of some kind even though its obviously not a wetsuit, but seriously, its just probably for the actors benefit. Id imagine itd be super easy to develop terrible stank and overheating in a rubber suit while trying to do all sorts of weird things theyre expected to do in the film for extended periods of time. (yes, i know of body doubles, but still)

and yea, its readable, but @captain516 has a point, large blocks of text are unattractive. Did notice how you broke it up a bit though, kudos for noticing.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Feb 11th, 2010, 06:18 PM
I was pretty against the movie (never read the comic) as soon as I learned that Mark Miller was in some way related to it. My only experience with the man's work had been Wanted, both the comic (decent art but awful otherwise) and the movie (currently my most hated film).

But then I saw a trailer or two for Kick-Ass, and it actually looked pretty good. Seems like it'll have some awesome action sequences (the harder R the better says I, so if they incorporate as much of the I-keep-hearing-about-it violence from the books I'll be a happy camper) and some good humor.

Plus, I'm a Nicholas Cage fan (yes, there's still a few of us left), and entirely encourage any role with him.

...alright, most roles. Even we have standards.
Vigilante All-Star
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:12 PM
I didn't get to read the whole series...I stopped when Hit Girl only JUST showed up. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I just couldn't make time to go to the comic store for a while, and when I finally went back, It was nowhere to be found.

Big Daddy looks far more menacing in the comic that in the movie though...holy shit. Wonder how Red Mist looked...
taco loving zombie
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:43 PM
there's a red band trailer with hit girl killing a bunch of dudes i think she even stabs someone in the crotch as for the book i ordered it online and i must say the romitas are some of my favorite artists in comic books
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:21 PM
What the fuck? They made Big Daddy into Batman? No, No, NO! At this point I don't really even care that Nick Cage plays him. I mean, that's bad, sure, but the costume is SOOO much worse!
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:29 PM
I loved the comic, was an honest look into what real life superheroes would be like. Few victories, massive hospital bills and disappointment.I'm waiting on the movie to come out before I make a judgment about it.