6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
It's time to kick some ass ...again!,
This review is from: Kick-Ass 2 (Hardcover)The first series of comics introduced us to Dave Lizewski who, inspired by his comic books, decided to become the masked vigilante Kick-Ass. He became a near-instant sensation when videos of him in action showed up on the internet, and he went on to defeat a powerful crime syndicate with the help of pint sized powerhouse Hit Girl. Kick-Ass 2 sees Red Mist attempting the avenge his father and taking on a new name in the process. Hit Girl is trying to appease her new adopted parents by keeping out of trouble - but Kick-Ass certainly isn't on his own.
The media interest generated by Kick-Ass and his exploits has resulted in a boom of costumed vigilantes desperate to make a difference. But like any other aspect of life, there's a wide spectrum of 'heroes' out there ranging from those who find it quite cool, to nutters looking for any excuse to dish out some pain. Those lucky enough to join Dave's own inner circle join New York's own Justice League; 'Justice Forever' - an organisation consisting of individuals from all walks of life, some of them have experienced great injustice, some are just fed up of crime - but they all want to make a difference. One of the greatest elements of the first first Kick-Ass book was the way it blended the action of a superhero comic with the banality of real life. Mark Miller once again captures that, from attending lessons in school to organising tea and biscuits for a group of costumed heroes - part of the magic here is that it could actually be happening right now.
It would have been easy for the sequel to have been a retelling of the original albeit with a different bunch of gangsters to defeat, but there's a real sense that this is a continuation of the foundations laid out by Millar originally. The universe in which this takes place has been shaped by the events of the first book, and the main characters of Mindy and Dave are forced to reflect on their actions. Again, there are repercussions and consequences - this is very violent, but it's not cartoon violence where the reset button is hit and everyone is back to normal again - those hurt remain hurt, those killed remain dead and those around them are left to grieve. There has been criticism around the level of brutality in Kick-Ass 2, it's certainly more extreme and I personally found a couple of moments to be slightly over-the-top (particularly where Dave's 'girlfriend' is concerned), I have to admit that I feel that some of it was done to provoke a level of shock rather than add to the story, but maybe this is more to do with the outright depravity of the bad guys - the best baddies are those who are multifaceted, the ones here are just plain evil and hell-bent on being generally nasty. The lack of depth attributed to the villains has a negative impact on the story but overall it still works well.
The excess of blood and gore means that this really is a graphic novel! John Romita Junior's great artwork follows the same style as his work in the first book - it's a bit cartoony but not to a level which means you don't take the characters seriously. This is a darker book in tone and the illustrations reflect that.
In a nutshell: Kick-Ass is easily one of my favourite comic-books of all time, Kick-Ass 2 lacks some of the depth and at times the levels of violence seem contrived for the sake of it, but it still contains enough real-world grit for it to feel faithful to one of the best graphic novels of the recent age.