By Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., Peter Steigerwald, John Workman, Megan Madrigal, and Melina Mikulic
Looking back at the original run of Kick-Ass, it’s definitely a comic that feels representative of a different time. Dave Lizewski’s tale of becoming a real-life superhero connected because of its optimism wrapped in a package of excessive violence and dark humor. It also contains some content that probably wouldn’t fly in today’s world. Luckily, the book’s new iteration has grown with that in mind. The new Kick-Ass not only sticks with the series’ tone and aesthetic, but it also gives readers a relevant and powerful protagonist. It might have been played as a joke before, but the title now fits the main character.
Far from the setting of New York City, Kick-Ass starts off with a very familiar opening: a green costumed figure is being dragged into the office of a crime boss. But that’s where the similarities end. The person under the mask, Patience Lee, isn’t a nerdy inexperienced kid, she’s a trained army veteran. While Dave mostly had to deal with his personal well-being, Patience is a mother with a family to take of. Also gone is the teenage dialogue that has been a staple for a while. It’s an entirely different situation that brings with it a new set of problems to deal with. This change in the dynamic of the series will not just renew interest in older readers but also spark it in those new to the franchise.
Rather than just working on good intentions, Mark Millar writes Patience as a person that follows through on her promises. She’s the hero that is not only willing, but also capable of doing what needs to get done regardless of hardship. At the same time, she doesn’t reach the insanity of Hit-Girl and is a very relatable human being. Anybody that’s been involved with raising children will connect with scenes such as when her young daughter demands to be wiped after using the bathroom. In a lot of ways, Patience is exactly the type of character that should be pushed for.
John Romita Jr.’s art still feels great in this universe, capable of delivering not just the tough blows but also the innocence of Patience’s children. Nice call backs to the original series, albeit from different angles is a nice touchstone to the past. As for the violence, he hasn’t stretched his muscles on anything that’s too gory although the hard-hitting nature of the action still resonates off the page. Peter Steigerwald’s colors along with John Workman’s lettering work well together in being consistent with previous entries. Steigerwald’s use of avoiding light on the person under the Kick-Ass costume plays a sizable role in pulling off the reveal. The cinematic presentation of Kick-Ass has always been one of its strong points, so it’s good to see the trend continue here.
The new Kick-Ass is an evolution in terms of character, tone, and intent. Patience to an extent is a greater fulfillment on the promise of the series than Dave ever was, a protagonist with heart and a fierceness that’s easy to root for.