Friday, 6 February 2015

Review - Kick-Ass 3

Inline image 1By Mark Millar (Author) and John Romita Jr. (artist)

Released by Titan Books

Review by Richard Williams

I firstly want to echo the words of Jeff Wadlow when he said in his introduction to Kick-Ass 3: "The end of KICK-ASS?!?! What kind of demon-semen are those two ass clowns mainlining? Why would they end KICK-ASS?"

Because this sadly is the end of Kick-Ass and I too am something of a fan (I even liked the movies). But what an ending. Full of all the usual high-octane blood-splattery, sharp wit and outright profanity that the readers of Mark Millar have come to expect, this is the send-off that Kick-Ass needed. But is it a perfect send-off?

Not exactly. Kick-Ass, frankly, should have died a half a dozen times during the course of this third installation to the series. When will bad guys, especially super tough, hard as nails, mean as a starved dog, killers, learn to just shoot people when they catch them? This consideration goes double when talking about Hit-Girl. They know she is a near unstoppable killing machine that delights in taking on impossible odds and staggering numbers of villains yet they don't just kill her when they have the (several) opportunities to do so. This isn't a major complaint, just something that I wish wouldn't come up so often.

There's also the fact that there are a handful of interesting characters introduced in this book, with the potential to have a real impact on the direction of the storyline, but who are very much underused. They are introduced, throw a minor spanner in the works, then just seem to tail off.

Also, and it has to be said, the direction sometimes feels a little wayward. I don't want to give too much away but sometimes the heroes still just come across as pathetic. By this point in the story you hope for something a little more spectacular.

But that's about all that bugged me. What did KICK-ASS 3 get right? well, just about everything else. Hit-Girl in particular is a treat and we get to see more about her back story and get to see just how damaged she is. While Hit-Girl is undoubtedly the toughest character here (and possibly in comics ever) I can't help but feel that she is really a very tragic character and I'm left feeling sorry for her. When she's not maiming all holy-hell out of mobsters, bent cops and perverts in general, that is. If Hit-Girl went to Gotham they could close Arkham and all sleep safer.

As for Kick-Ass himself? His character story is nicely rounded out. It might not be the ending you expect, but it should be an ending you like. We get to see him mature, despite having all manner of violence done to him, and become something like normal.

The art style retains the cartoonish look, not surprisingly since it's still John Romita Jr. doing the honours, which was something that I took a while to get used to but which I've come to like. I still think some of the characters look as though they've had extreme facial reconstruction which has left the skin pulled taught back towards the base of the skull but overall it's a good solid look.

Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable and engaging read and I think that fans of the other books in the series will feel their beloved characters have been treated well. Recommended.

Unless you hate violence, nudity, swearing and scenes of a sexual nature. Yeah, there's a lot of that.

- Richard Williams