Kick-Ass #1 Review
By Zak Edwards
February 28, 2008 - 14:00
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Mark Millar
Penciller(s): John Romita Jr.
Kick Ass is seeking to do something done plenty of times before, that is, it seeks to create a realistic super-hero comic book. Obviously this has been done before, even Watchmen could be described as such. So what do Millar and Romita Jr. do differently that should cause people to look up and pay attention? Kick Ass is attempting to make it as real as possible, and does this with great success. Millar has removed as many fantastical elements as possible in order to create a very real comic book, reinforced by Romita Jr.’s unforgiving pencils.
Millar uses this first issue to create a world that is as close to ours as possible. Characters talk like normal people, giving a flowing, non-scripted approach to dialogue. Frequent pop culture references are made to connect readers to this world as much as possible. But possibly the most believable part of this whole story is the protagonist: Dave Lizewski. Dave is simply the most likely candidate to end up dressing up and attempting to fight crime in the world we live in. He is a relative nobody with a minor obsession with comic books who leads a pretty normal life; playing video games, watching shows like Scrubs, listening to music like the Stereophonics (which is a very good band, by the way, especially their earlier stuff). He is incredibly relatable, perhaps too much. But, as Dave Lizewski states: “We all planned to be a superhero at some point in our lives,” and there is a scary truth in that. After all, super-hero comic books are mostly escapism anyway. This first issue follows Dave’s life, giving some background and eventually following him on his first excursion to fight crime. This final scene is very real, just like the rest of the issue, having him encounter vandals while everything goes terribly wrong at his own fault. The final panel leaves him reconsidering things, and readers wanting issue #2. Millar has done something so simple, it’s almost revolutionary. The ass being kicked is suspension of disbelief and Millar has created a title based on the extraordinary ordinary. Oh, and the issue is just a lot of fun to read as well, Dave's narration is very revealing and laid-back, giving a further approachability to the series.
John Romita Jr. follows the theme of realism in his pencils, filling the action panels with blood, bruises, and very grounded fighting. If a character even simply gets punched, it is felt and shown to have serious consequences. There are no supermen, when someone gets attacked Romita Jr. makes sure the reader knows that this would be exactly what would happen if it were to happen down the street. The characters all look very normal as well. Even the supposed hot girl sitting behind Dave is nothing to gawk at. Dave’s friends and himself are all skinny, plain-looking kids. Romita Jr.’s art has never felt been disproportionate to the extremes that can be seen in many titles, so his approach is perfect.
9/10 Takes the ‘realistic super-hero’ idea and actually executes it with conviction.
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