Waiting For The Trade: Kick-Ass (Titan TPB Edition)

Writer: Mark Millar
Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Tom Palmer
Colourist: Dean White
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Collects: Kick-Ass 1-8

More often than not being a comics fan in the UK is a frustrating experience, we get our books later (ok it’s only a day later but still), they cost more and they’re almost never about characters from our country. However once in a while it pays off if only in a small way. As the hardcover of Kick-Ass launched at a princely cost of £18.99 in the UK (that’s about $29) through the direct market, the good people of Titan books released a trade paperback version for £9.99 and even better than that it was 50% off at Amazon UK. What better way for the monetarily cautious (i.e. skinflint) reader to find out what the fuss is about?

And yes, what a fuss. Kick-Ass the movie has debuted in the UK and having just returned from the US I shall be checking it out shortly. For those living under a rock the plot is about a teenager in the “real world” who decides to become a costumed vigilante. He has no powers, no special training or equipment and no clue what he’s doing.

The story is an interesting contradiction, it simultaneously tears apart the standard superheroic clichés whilst following many of them. In a lot of ways you can read it and understand that this is our reality but then huge swathes of it are utterly unrealistic. Whilst it relies quite heavily on shocks and twisty turny plot devices it does so in a way that kept me engaged and interested.

The characters other than the lead seem to be fairly one-dimensional though, the lead Dave Lizewski has an interesting if improbable arc but he’s surrounded by characters who are pretty simple and who don’t really get anything in the way of development. Even his father only really goes from “grieving dad” to “grieving dad who’s shagging a grieving mum”, if that’s character development I’ve sadly misjudged porn all these years.

It’s not a long read though. I don’t time myself when reading, because let’s face it that would be a bit odd, but I’d be amazed if these 8 issues took me longer than 30 mins to read. And this Titan edition doesn’t have any supporting material other than some very basic bio info on the creators. That’s not a criticism, it was due in equal parts to the material being brief and my own voracious need to get to the end.

You’d expect a book with JR Jr art to look good (unless it’s World War Hulk) and this one delivers. His style perfectly suits the gruesome nature of some of the scenes and I think a more traditional or photo-realistic style would draw me out of the story.

My only gripe is that I think the cover on this edition looks bloody awful. It’s a publicity shot from the film proclaiming this to be “Kick-Ass: The Graphic Novel” and that’s just hitting two of my bugbears. I hate photo covers for comics and I hate when serialised comics are referred to as a graphic novel when collected.

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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