With a unique blend of earnest hyper-violence and complete lack of restraint, "Kick-Ass" is surely the year's most unexpected hit -â€" though when a comic's got Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. at the helm, it's hard to see that even something this radical could have been anything other than a massive success.
Whether it's the YouTube and MySpace references, the over-the-top violence of the still-young protagonists, or the suspicion that Mark Millar is writing a book that would probably make certain right-wing crusaders pop their monocles if they took their attention off "Grand Theft Auto" long enough to notice it, "Kick-Ass" doesn't have a modicum of timelessness about it -- rather, it's all incredibly timely. It's not often a cult hit makes itself so immediately clear, nor is it so often that something which is clearly a cult book outsells most of the comics industry. A few years from now, this series is going to be looked back on with an incredible sense of nostalgia and appreciation, so let's all make sure we all enjoy it now.
With his status as a celebrity "super" hero now cemented in the public consciousness after his lucky win against the Puerto Rican gang was caught on video, Dave finds himself looking for his next target. He settles at random on a drug dealer, though he soon wonders if he hasn't made a massive mistake. Somehow, though, it all works out for him when he's saved by someone quite clearly even more insane than he is. Millar has, luckily for us, made Dave just sympathetic and naive enough to seem normal, even though he's quite clearly nuts â€"- though not so much by comparison, as of this issue. For a brief moment in the middle, Millar even throws in some time with a romantic subplot that humanizes Dave a lot, as well as providing a nice grounding point for the issue -â€" a brief interlude between the extremes.
As if the previous installments didn't grab your attention enough, the new character introduced at the climax of this issue -â€" a sociopathic nine-year-old girl who wields twin samurai swords â€"- not only grabs your attention, but then throttles it to within an inch of its life. The choreography in the fight scene is amazingly brutal -- there hasn't been a comic this openly excessive since Frank Miller drew his last "Sin City" story, and "Kick-Ass" is taking itself far less seriously. Every page is soaked in pure enthusiasm, and you can't help but feel that Romita and Millar must be having the time of their lives with this.
Just the fact that Marvel is willing to publish "Kick-Ass" at all, with two of its most high-profile creators on board, has surely cemented the credibility of the Icon brand. If Marvel can put out this without any worry, then surely nothing is off limits?