Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"I always wondered why no one did it before me. I mean, all those comic book movies and television shows, you'd think at least one eccentric loner would have stitched himself a costume. Is everyday life really so exciting? Are schools and offices really so thrilling that I'm the only one who ever fantasised about this? C'mon, be honest with yourself. We all planned to be a superhero at some point in our lives."
Okay, let's get the fanboy exuberance out the way first: I absolutely loved KICK-ASS from start to finish. It certainly isn't the greatest superhero comic of all time as the rear cover jovially and boastfully proclaims but it's very very good indeed. As to whether it's just the visceral thrill of something totally different mashed together with the shock value of something... just so plain wrong... or whether KICK-ASS is going to stand the test of time and be proclaimed a classic, I'm not really sure at the moment. It's no ULTIMATES, for me Millar's finest work to date, or indeed possibly even a WANTED, but it does hit a raw nerve... repeatedly... and with a hammer.
Dave Lizewski is an ordinary teenager who just wants to do some good in an unpleasant, uncaring world. And then it hits him (and it's certainly not the last thing that hits him by any means), why not be a superhero? And why has no one done it before? Unfortunately for Dave it rapidly becomes apparently exactly why not as he's handed the mother of all ass-kickings in his first attempt to save somebody. But even several operations and three plates in his head to repair the damage don't put him off. In fact the mad young bastard can't wait to get off his crutches so he can start pounding the streets once more. And before too long, the 'others' do indeed start appearing; inspired it would seem by the success of Kick-Ass, as he has become known. Except, it's still a very dangerous world out there for any would-be superhero, particularly when the criminals decide they need to start taking some pre-emptive action to deal with the growing threat. So what does any discerning superhero do in such a situation? Well, team up of course!!
I think what makes KICK-ASS such a captivating read is after each barrage of insane violence Millar just keeps relentlessly bringing it back to the neuroses and oh so fragile ego of poor old Dave. Indeed I did giggle at his bitterness at seeing other people start to eclipse his own hard-won on-line heroic notoriety. But what I found most amusing of all was how utterly unable he is to change his real-life circumstances, despite his seeming ability to do the almost impossible as his costumed alter-ego. Oh my, is there some brutal teenage angst played out in excruciating fashion in nightmare scenario after scenario, including a particularly pernicious lie about his sexuality which he foolishly started himself, and now can't quite bring himself to own up to for fear of the consequences. If puny Peter Parker had had to endure the same level of high school horror as Dave, well, I think he might well just have ended it all.