Kick-Ass the graphic novel

With the film adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.'s graphic novel Kick-Ass about to open in theaters, I picked up the book to see what it was all about. I'd seen the disturbing, high-intensity trailer back in December, and I wanted to read the story before I got to the movies. Having read it -- ploughing through it in a non-stop, intense hour -- I'm pretty psyched to see the flick!

Kick Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, an average high-school student headed for nothing much in life, who decides that rather than aspiring to being a pop-star or a great athlete, he'll become a super-hero. Why not? So he orders a scuba wet-suit, gets a couple of batons, and sets to work fighting crime.

He doesn't fare so well. Almost immediately, he receives a near-crippling beat-down that hospitalizes him and and nearly bankrupts his hardworking single father. He swears off vigilantism, only to be lured back out of retirement by the appearance of a copycat ("The Red Mist"), another caped "hero" who scores several high-profile criminal empires and attains even greater fame than "Kick-Ass"(Lizewski's super alterego), eclipsing his MySpace page and his Google pagerank.

Quickly, Kick-Ass ends up in a near-terminal situation, only to be rescued by a ten-year-old girl ("Hit-Girl"), who slaughters the bad guys who're about to kill him, dispatching them with a ninja sword and a great deal of bravada. The homicidal pair vanish, leaving Kick-Ass feeling inadequate and worried.

But not for long -- quickly, Kick-Ass finds himself confronting the Red Mist, who turns out to be a megafan of his, and the two of them pair off as a super-duo.

The story rockets along -- it's essentially one long flashback, beginning with Lizewski tied to a chair by bad guys who're electrocuting his testicles -- and comes to an extremely satisfying conclusions. It's a neat and bloody commentary on the mythos of superheroism and vigilantism, and while the contrast between Hit-Girl's innocence and violence is an exploitative trick, it's also a very powerful one, that works to get you thinking about the nature of the "heroes" who fill our four-color dreams.

The end of the book identifies it as the first volume, but even so, it draws to a very neat conclusion that won't leave you feeling cheated.



  1. I think the ten yo girl called herself “Hit-Girl”, not Ninja-Girl. Or am I remebering bullshit?

  2. I am HANGING to see this. Any clueless git of a parent who brings their noisy kid to this one is going to get my foot up their arse.


    Yeah, so. Can’t wait ;-D

  3. Cory, you will enjoy the movie. One or two things have been blanded out, as you might expect, but it’s both pretty darn faithful, and satisfyingly twisted, plus it have some phenomenally kinetic action sequences.

  4. You say “bravada,” I say “bravado.” I presume she didn’t actually use a now-defunct Oldsmobile SUV to kill people?

    1. Have you read the book? Obviously not! GM doesn’t have a good knack for timing when it comes to product placement. But you can get a great deal on the Bravada now!

  5. I saw this on Saturday night, it’s *awesome*.

    It should have been called Hit Girl though. :)

  6. “Kick-Ass ends up in a near-terminal situation, only to be rescued by a ten-year-old girl (“Hit-Girl”), who slaughters…” “The homicidal pair vanish, leaving Kick-Ass…”

    I think you may have accidentally half of a homicidal pair here, unless Red Mist from the paragraph before is supposed to be in this thought.

    Though, it *would* be impressive if Hit-Girl had a split personality, ala Gollum, on top of being a homicidal katana-weilding little girl.

    1. South Park did it, but they didn’t do it first. Kick-Ass predates that episode by more than a year.

    1. From the reviews I’ve read (I’ve been glomming onto to every piece of info about this film I can find) this is his best performance since Raising Arizona.

      I’m going to see it tomorrow!! :oD

  7. I’m a big fan of inventing contractions, but be cautious about the context and placement of using “who’re”.

  8. I understand people’s excitement for the movie, and I did enjoy the comic a lot, but what Millar is doing is not very different from what the now (thankfully) defunct Virgin Comics was doing; using comics as storyboards for movies. Millar seems to have the hang of it and I hope he keeps doing good work, but I also hope lesser writers do not jump on the bandwagon.

    I am excited about the movie too, and also happy that John Romita Jr. might get some much needed mainstream recognition and, most importantly, money. I’ll also implore you to check out Scott Pilgrim, another comic-book with an upcoming movie release, its pure joy, and The Losers, what if Luc Besson made the A-team? It’ll be the Losers.

  9. I clicked on the link to view the trailer and it said it was yanked for TOS violation.

    Why would they even do that? Isn’t the whole point of a trailer to get it viewed as widely as possible? Perhaps they don’t want me seeing the movie.

  10. Im a fan of Millar’s, I love The Ultimates, The Authority and Superman Red Son.

    I always find his worst comics become the most famous. Kick-Ass was real dumb even by Millar’s standards so was Cival War!

    Should make a great action flick though.

  11. I’m sure someone out there has a good idea for a believable “real-life superhero” story but I haven’t seen it yet. (Note: any story involving a ten-year-old girl who takes down professional killers like the Punisher on crank doesn’t count.)

  12. I liked it, but giving Hit Girl a happy ending strained my credulity even more than 10 year old ninja did.

  13. The book was a cool concept with fantastic art brought crashing down by Millar’s self indulgent writing. I’m hoping the movie will tone down his more masturbatory moments because everything about it looks as awesome as the comic should have been.

  14. An alright movie. But way too much product placement!! Do the producers take the public for fools??

    People pay the full price tickets to go to the cinema, we watch a load of adverts before the movie, then when we do get to watch the movie, Apple products are constantly thrust in your faces!

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