By Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., Peter Steigerwald, John Workman, Megan Madrigal, and Beth Sotelo
The new Kick-Ass series from creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. is back with a new lead and a new story to tell about superheroism in the modern world. This new series feel like a reincarnation of sorts, this is a fresh start to tell a different story of Kick-Ass. This issue features Patience Lee, the new Kick-Ass, a veteran who is trying to make it through life as a single mom. We watch her take down bad guys, go to school, waitress in a super depressing diner, and take care of her kids. We see her take on the impossible task of trying to make it all work, but the main theme keeps coming up of vigilantism versus super heroism. This series certainly feels like a fresh new story, but it seems to fall short in certain areas where the old series took off.
A main area where this story falls short is the main character. Millar and Romita Jr. chose a new lead, a woman of color to be the centerpiece of the new Kick-Ass series at Image. Yes, we need representation of POC in comics, but it has to feel relevant and relatable. So far at issue #2, Patience Lee still does not feel like a real fleshed out character. She has a big backstory with a tragic turn when her husband left her, but there is not enough relatable pieces to make her seem real. The beats are there on paper to make her a sympathetic character, but the turn from poor single mom to wearing the kick ass suit just felt fast and strange. Looking back at what made the original Kick-Ass work was the sympathetic lead.
A nice redeeming quality of this issue is the art with pencils from John Romita Jr., Peter Steigerwald on digital inks and colors, letters from John Workman, digital ink assistant Megan Madrigal, and color assistant Beth Sotelo. The issue is bookmarked with the great action sequences that we come to expect from Romita Jr. The super gritty style of this book gets accentuated with super dark colors from Steigerwald. This art style gives this book a more “super-hero” feel to it, a little less realistic, so it gives a more removed feel to the story. That might also contribute to the feeling of disconnection with Patience.
This new era of Kick-Ass is going to appeal to new people; there is a global appeal of the ordinary people trying to find way to take on the bad guys without super powers. However, for this series to work we have to really care about Patience and so far we are about half way invested in her. Kick-Ass #2 has the opportunity to tell a new story with a cool strong female lead, they just need to take the time to get the readers invested.