How do you review a comic like Kick-Ass? Well, for starters, you can pretty much throw being family friendly out the window. This is definitely not your Dad”s comic book. I know, I know, that”s been said a dozen times, about everything from Spawn to Punisher Max to Walking Dead. But this time it”s for serious.
I”m going to do my best to explain what makes this comic so awesome, without giving away any of the great suprises contained within it”s pages. I”ll just say it right now, GO-BUY-THIS-BOOK! I don”t care if you don”t collect hardcovers, or it”s too expensive, or your parents don”t want you reading stuff like this. Start collecting hardcovers, open up your wallet, and hide it under your mattress with your Playboys, because you don”t want to be one of the people that only read the comic because the movie was a big hit. Which it will be.
Back to the point. Kick-Ass does what those other “edgy” comics don”t. It pays homage to classic heroes, putting them up on a HUGE pedestal, while also pointing out just how ridiculous the idea of a strongman-in-tights-that-can-leap-tall-buildings-in-a-single-bound really is. It”s not trying to crap on your childhood, but it is questioning why superheroes are so ingrained in pop-culture iconography.
Our hero, Dave Lizewski, poses this question right off the bat, “I always wondered why nobody did it before me… You”d think at least one eccentric loner would stitch himself a costume.” This is a similar query to the one posed a couple decades ago by Alan Moore when he wrote Watchmen. But instead of convicting the superhero genre, Kick-Ass elevates it, and brings it to another level. The meta-storytelling gives us all something to relate to. We”ve all read The Spectacular Spider-Man and wished we could shoot webs from our hands, and go from super-nerd to superhero. Dave Lizewski has been there too; only now he”s fed up with his boring ass life, and he”s not going to take it anymore! Out of this teenage angst comes the truest of all superhero origins, and thus, Kick-Ass is born.
I don”t want to get much farther into the story than that, as it”s full of a lot of really fun suprises that you need to read before you see the movie. Suffice it to say, this book is cover-to-cover, good ole fashioned, Ultra-Violence! Blood, guts, gore and style to boot! I”m not generally a fan of John Romita Jr. I feel like that style went out with Frank Miller”s in the Eighties. But there”s something about it that really speaks to this story. It kinda takes me back to those early issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Eastman and Laird. It”s got that feel. That sincerity of comics back in that era. And it”s definitely not generic. Mark Millar chose wisely when selecting Romita Jr. to bring his script to graphic life. Overall, the comic is a 100% win for me. I got no complaints, except that I want MORE!
Which brings me to the second part of this article. Kick-Ass is now a major motion picture! It says so right on the cover of my first edition hardcover of the comic. Yeah, you read that right. See, comic book movies are becoming such big business, that this one was optioned before the first issue even hit newsstands. Doesn”t hurt that Mark Millar is the mind behind some of Marvel”s biggest casino online successes of the last 10 years, including The Ultimates and Civil War. But don”t get too excited. Until you see the trailer, that is…
Ok, now you can get excited. But still, hold on before you get too carried away. As cool as this movie looks, there”s a few hiccups that are already apparent. First off, Nicholas Cage as Big Daddy. At first, it seems like great casting. Finally, a superhero role with Nick Cage that I can get behind! That is, until you read the comic. In the previews, Big Daddy appears to be a dorky accountant of some sort, while in the comics, he seems like a NRA right-wing nutjob with a gun fetish. I”m still holding out hopes that he”ll come through at game time, but from what I”ve seen, it doesn”t look promising. Another problem is how much story it looks like they”ll be cutting out. Kick-Ass is a quick read, but there”s still a lot of story in there, and I just don”t see how they could fit it all in a 2-hour movie. Some stuff is gonna have to go, and that”s a shame.
But for those drawbacks, there”s a ton of stuff that looks great! Kick-Ass” costume is a perfect page-to-screen realization, and the changes to Hit Girl and Red Mist are actually pretty cool (not that I don”t love Hit Girl”s costume in the comics, but Red Mist definitely needed some upgrades). Overall, it looks to be a pretty faithful adaptation. I just hope it doesn”t get the same treatment as Watchmen or Whiteout, where Hollywood gets it”s grubby mitts all over it and ask why you can”t simplify it and make it more accessible. Mark Millar said recently of film producers, that when they get their hands on it, they tend to not get it, wanting to “make Hit Girl a 19 year old instead of 11.” Trust me, that would ruin what makes the character so much fun. With that coming from the comic”s creator, hopefully he managed to maintain a bit of creative control, and as a result, the film should be faithful to the source material.
At the end of the day, I”m gonna jump on the bandwagon real early, contributing to the cliche headline, Kick-Ass is Kick Ass!