Comic Review: Kick-Ass #4 (Icon)

Before CLiNT magazine, before Nemesis, this series actually had me excited. Four years later, I’m burned out with it all. The tasteless rape of a minor character in Kick-Ass 2 put me off for good.

Kick-Ass #4 (Icon)
Written by Mark Millar

Art by John Romita Jr.

Superheroes get real, get a MySpace page and get popular…

What does it take to put on a costume and become a real superhero? Loneliness and despair. So it goes in Mark Millar’s latest creator-owned series about a highschooler who decides to bring real life superheroics to the streets. It follows the story of a typical American teenager, Dave Lizewski, whose inability to woo the ladies and obsessive interest in comics leads him to slip into an eBay-purchased wet suit, and hit the streets to combat crime. On his first jaunt, he’s stabbed in the chest trying to stop vandals,
and then, if that wasn’t enough, hospitalised after a speeding car ploughs into him.

While this doesn’t exactly sound like a cheery read, Millar’s characters’ worldview is
not as cynical as you would expect, and this makes a nice change when most superhero output seems to go down the dark and gritty path. As Dave and his schoolfriends discuss the Fantastic Four’s battles with Galactus and the realism of Spider-Man’s web-shooters, we take one step away from the fact that we’re staring at a comic book page. The geeks that populate the pages of this story almost live and breathe.

John Romita Jr. is a long-established artist for Marvel, who’s worked across all the biggest and best titles they’ve offered up over the years: Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (with Frank Miller) to name but a few. This month also marked his return to the pages of Spider-Man alongside Kick-Ass colourist Dean White, who transforms Romita’s rough and frenetic pencil work into something of impressionistic beauty. Yes, this is still a comic we’re talking about. And
it looks damn good.

Millar, the other half of the creative team, should be a name not unfamiliar to most comic and graphic novel readers. With Wanted recently making millions at the UK box-office, and Kick-Ass already optioned for the big screen by the Stardust team of Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, Millar is a marquee name in the world of comics, and each new project he works on brings about an almost ridiculous level of anticipation.

Overall, this is a fast paced, over-the-top but brilliantly engaging read. It sits alongside Wanted, Chosen and new Millar series 1985 as a series that could quite easily be developed further, and it’ll be interesting to see how this evolves onto the silver screen.  Fun, violent, possibly even offensive, Kick-Ass is worth picking up.