Kick-Ass 2 #1 - Untitled, unless 'Taste The Awesome!' Counts - Millar, Romita JR. and Palmer
Story - I'm going to kick-start this review from a different point than everyone else has, before picking up this issue, I had already read the first 16 pages of it in Mark Millar's UK anthology title CLiNT, and I have to say, it's really surprising how well this issue worked really well as both a 22-page American-Format comic, and also in shorter 8-page chunks in CLiNT, often when stories are cut up and moved around, it can leave you feeling short-changed or let-down, but Kick-Ass 2 seems to have been written with both formats in mind, and Millar does very well at walking that pacing tightrope, if you only read CLiNT, you'd swear blind that the story was written for the shorter instalments, and if you only read this issue, you'll swear that it was written as a whole. Who's to say which is right? But Millar should get some praise for this feat.
The actual story of Kick-Ass 2 picks up really well from where the first instalment left off, and executes all the rules of sequels well. It escalates the stakes really, we have more heroes, a team of heroes, and more villains too. From the looks of Dave Lizewski's monologue, the personal stakes for him have also been upped. Bigger is better. You've even got a hero trying to turn their back on the life of crime-fighting, Hit-Girl is Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2. Some readers may find this a little cliched. But if anything, it's meant to be cliched. Kick-Ass has always been more of a commentary on superhero cliches than a realistic take on them, it's a parody. The movie especially achieved this, it was Spider-Man through a nihilistic lens of violence and social networking. Here we're getting parodies of not only superhero teams and team-ups, but of superhero movies themselves. How very meta.
Wisely I think, Millar has taken some cues from Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn's movie adaptation of the first book, such as bringing the character of Marcus, Hit-Girl's new dad into things. I may be remembering the first book wrong, but if he appeared at all, it was a very minor role compared to that of the movie. I like seeing this kind of symbiosis between comics and film, it shows that they can work together. Plus the Kick-Ass movie was actually better than the comic (whisper it quietly) so anything that brings the movie's tone into the comic is a good thing. But he hasn't softened the book, the humour is still sick, we get Rihanna beating jokes, and even a character fantasising over Aunt May, only in Kick-Ass.
Kick-Ass 2 is pretty much exactly what you would expect from Kick-Ass, it takes everything you loved from the original, and adds more. Yes, these are the rules of sequels, but they are golden rules, and hopefully Millar will play with them a little.
If you liked Kick-Ass 1, chances are you'll like this, it delivers all your Kick-Assy needs, and then some. If you didn't like Kick-Ass 1, then you'll probably hate this, and you'll probably let us all know at 100 decibels. But fans of Kick-Ass don't care about the haters, they're just having fun, just like Millar and Romita.
Art - John Romita JR, the sainted John Romita JR has actually been getting a lot of criticism lately for his work on The Avengers, which is apparently rushed, and apparently he can't draw Iron Man for toffee. I haven't really noticed it, I always enjoy his work, including Avengers. But I do have to admit his work here does look quite a bit better. Whether this is down to Tom Palmer's finishes or the fact that he cares more about his own property, I don't really know, but this is some of JRjr's best work, and it looks great,
Best Line - 'Man, I feel like Rihanna after a quiet night in'