Saturday, 12 May 2012

Graphic Novel Review: 'Kick-Ass' by Mark Millar

by Mark Millar

Published: 19th March, 2010
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Comic Series
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192


I love the artwork in this graphic novel, as it is a colourful and sumptuous book to read. I can imagine a lot of other artists would have used black and white because of the amount of blood and guts in many scenes, but for me I like how unashamedly bloody and gruesome it is and how the bright, bright red of the blood is splattered on most pages. 

It is very clear and raw and bright and, as you can see, Kick Ass isn't as pretty as Aaron Johnson in the book!: 

Plot Synopsis

It is the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenager who sets out to become a real life superhero. His actions are publicized on the Internet and inspire others. He gets caught up with ruthless vigilantes Hit-Girl and Big Daddy who are on a mission to take down the gangster John Genovese.

My Rating:

Pocket-Size Review 
Highs: This graphic novel is right up my street. I love brutality (can't deny it) and unflinching fast-aced action with great characters and dialogue...this just has it all.
Lows: Not one. Although, after seeing the film, I do actually prefer some elements from the film that I felt were developed better.


The dangers of fan-boying to the point where you live through your fantasy world and forget about reality:

1. You're gonna get your balls electrocuted. 

...That's it really but isn't that enough!?

I loved Kick-Ass. The comic is much more focused on the dangers of fantasising about being a hero and escaping reality than the movie was. I first read this quite a long time ago, before seeing the film, and after seeing the film and absolutely LOVING it, I kind of couldn't be bothered to go back to the comic again. However, the sequel is coming next month so I thought I'd give it a re-read...and I am so happy I did. It's one of those reads where you get to the final line of dialogue, and it is as perfect as the rest of the book and you just think THAT. WAS. SO. GOOD. I want to chew on the cover now to show it how much I love it. That's how it felt. 

There are so many things to love about this comic. Dave Lizewski is a PROPER character. He is a teenager who actually sounds like a teenager and who is a complete fantasist. His motivations for becoming a superhero are 'desperation and loneliness', which differed from the movie in which it is 'positivity and naivete'. This highlights the primary difference between them; the Dave of this book is invisible, sad and quite depressed and you get the impression he wants to be a superhero because his life is uneventful and generally shit. He is also a bit of a a creepy way. He is sick of being pushed around and being at the bottom of the food chain; he wants to take action and prove that one person can make a difference, he wants more people to want to be superheroes and less people to want to be Paris Hilton. He wants to change the world. 

I liked the amount of violence in this graphic novel. The novel opens with a rather horrendous testicle electrocution scene and there is blood splattered on almost every page. It is, however, all accompanied by Dave's narration and comments, which are often insightful or humorous which takes the edge off a little bit, and all the blood is integral to the plot and makes sense. OK...not all of it. Some of it is gratuitous and gruesome and inflicted by a child who chops people down like there's no tomorrow...AND I LIKE IT! It is cool. I'm sorry. It just is. 

I love Hit Girl, of course. She is just an awesome character and it is always nice to see a little girl using the word 'cunt' correctly! She is a 10 year old assassin and no-one does it with more style than her. I will say though, I was disappointed in Red Mist and Big Daddy. Red Mist is very two dimensional and rather too predictable, and Big Daddy just isn't as messed up or cool as he is in the film. Nicholas Cage, I commend you on doing such a good job with kind of makes up for what you did with 'The Wicker Man'. Almost.

One element that was interesting considering fairy recent events in, was the way Kick Ass used the internet to promote and kinda incite people to fight for a cause. This felt very current considering the whole 'Kony 2012' video that was causing the 'WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER' attitude among its viewership, who were all brought together to fight for (what was first thought to be) a good cause. The Internet has power. Just look at the London riots. People who wanted to riot used social networking to make it as huge and uncontrollable as it was, and used it as a stage to contact like-minded people. Kick Ass and Red Mist do exactly that and promote their ass kicking using the interwebz. Due to following events, perhaps ultimately this comic highlights of the dangers of trusting those you meet online and inciting people in this way. Hmm. Perhap.

I don't know what else to say. It is awesome...if you like this kind of thing.  For me, the movie is a teensy bit better but only because it is so stylised and fast=paced; the comic has more depth and more of a message, and ends on a very different note. It just depends what you're into. The ending still blows me away every time. HAAA.

Other Thoughts

This Book has Inspired me to Read: 'Kick-Ass 2' comes out soon so I can't wait for that!

Three Words to Describe this Book: Unflinching, Brutal, Exciting


  1. I love this review so much! Kind of makes me want to barrel out and read this asap. Which I genuinely want to do, but mostly I'm thinking I'll have to put the movie on tonight! You are so right about Hit Girl, she's the best. I'm really interested in reading the book and seeing how it differs, particularly the more cautionary aspects seem interesting to me. Love it!

    1. Yayyyy! I did really enjoy it, but then pretty much straight after publishing this review I came across this post about Mark Millar:

      and I wondered if I had missed some aspects of his work! I didn't want to change my review because I didn't pick up on those things in 'Kick Ass' but it did make me really question it! I'm glad you liked it though! x

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