Stone me. If you’re one of those geeks who flick to the final page of a comic first then Kick-Ass #3 will make your head explode. All over your comic shop.
A nice bloke called Michael Horwitz, who’s an editorial assistant at Marvel, just pinged me a review copy of the latest 22 pages of foul-mouthed, blood-soaked lunacy from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, and he said: “Attached is the pdf of Kick Ass 3 for your reviewing pleasure. Apologies for the delay in getting this to you; hopefully that last page (and it’s a killer!) will make up for it. Spread the word! Kick Ass is back!”
If you’re going to have the audacity to call a comic Kick-Ass then you better be damn certain that you have the balls to deliver something that does in fact kick ass. Millar and Romita Jr don’t disappoint, not for one panel. The comic is rollicking along, it’s a strapping read. And then BAM! The last four or five pages veer off into something spectacular. I didn’t see it coming, but the implications of what I read actually make perfect sense. That said, I can imagine Romita Jr on the phone to Millar saying: “You want me to draw what?!?”
Kick-Ass certainly doesn’t take any prisoners. The last issue ended with our titular hero getting a doing after once more donning his costume to fight crime, and this latest instalment opens with him as a genuine internet sensation, courtesy of a bystander who filmed it all on a mobile phone. Office workers are watching it on their computers, school kids are blue-toothing it around the playground, late-night TV hosts are making him a cause celebre, and it’s all going to the head of the boy in the suit, Dave Lizewski.
He swaggers into school and suddenly finds the confidence to try and fire into the hottest girl in class. The suit is empowering him, despite all the kickings he’s getting, and he can’t wait to get back out there on the rooftops and alleyways of New York. There’s plenty of bone-rattling violence from Romita Jr as Dave finds himself in another tight spot.
I won’t spoil the last few pages, other than to say that they are sheer mayhem. It’s a cracking finale, it’s meant to shock, but once you settle down and think about it, then it all makes sense in the context of what’s happening. More than that, once you look beyond the gut-wrenching surprise, it is a pretty alarming take one of the oldest conventions in superhero comics.
Oh, and I’ve been saying Robert de Niro will be in the movie adaptation of Kick-Ass and after seeing this next panel I’m more certain of it than ever.