In an attempt to stay above board, I haven’t experienced the original 2008 Kick-Ass series. This review comes from a person whose experiences come from the volume itself, a Wikipedia page on the original, and one trailer of the movie. I swear I’ll get on it soon, my fellow nerds. I hope Kick-Ass Vol. 1 won’t mind a review from me.
I won’t be able to compare this series to the old one as a result. Despite these deficiencies, I can confidently say that Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s Kick-Ass Vol. 1 follows a different protagonist than Dave Lizewski, a high-school comic book fan.
The Main Protagonist Of Kick-Ass Vol. 1
We’re working with a character who has a military background. Her past experiences lend itself into being a highly-efficient vigilante. Her name is Patience Lee, a mother with two kids and a set of skills that doesn’t pay the bills. Lee’s time, under the mantle of Kick-Ass, uses her status as a soldier without a cause to help run the superhero business to an efficient effect.
Ultimately, I appreciated her character. Her motivation for becoming Kick-Ass comes from her history as a black woman. The fact she doesn’t have money, due to problems with coming home from war and living in a disenfranchised neighborhood are timeless. What makes Patience Lee different from someone else like Spider-Man is her choices.
She interprets the lessons she’s learned in the first volume in a brutal way. By believing doing the right things means making the hard choices, she sets herself up from multiple interesting paths.
Diversity Is Important In Comics
If you consume the same genre long enough, whether it be superheroes, sci-fi, or fantasy, you’ll recognize the moments that appear in a particular work. The origin story and the pivotal moments that change a person from a normal schlub into a hero are as familiar as the back of a comic reader’s hand.
The difference comes from the nuances of their character since their background makes them special. As a black woman, mother of two, and a soldier, she brings an alternate perspective. There are little details that aren’t seen from A-Listers like Batman or Super-Man. They may share a common creed in their desire for a just world, but the focus created by their personalities changes the game.
Patience Lee makes a lot of pragmatic choices. You won’t see her decisions from an alien farmboy, a billionaire genius, or a high-schooler. As a result, I feel like the weakest moments are when the writer explicitly tries to refer to an old comic and point out the flaws in their logic. When they try to be meta, the meta feels try-hard.
While I don’t know much about the original, my biggest worry is by giving her the moniker of Kick-Ass that she’ll be overshadowed by Dave Lizewski. He’s a comic book fan and those attempts would’ve felt more organic in a story based on him. I can say that it’s a great story if you don’t hold any expectation from the past, but this is impossible for those who expect Dave. It’s a challenge that many newer characters face.
For the Most Part, The Boob Proportions Are Well-Done
While Kick-Ass Vol. 1 grounds itself in realism, there are moments when the story breaks the illusion. Throughout this volume, you’ll see a lot of art and writing based on what can actually be done in real life, but you’ll find yourself thinking this is too cool to be true. As a rule, I’m always a fan of when the artist reflects on the writing done and makes it better.
The art enhances the dialogue and the situations portrayed in the story arc. For the more grounded individuals, you won’t see exaggerated muscles or too large breasts, which is a typical hallmark of superheroes. For the more comic-book like personalities, I feel like you can also see a lot of personality through the proportions of the character.
The characters who are larger than life have unique bodies to them, while the calmer individuals have simpler body types.
Why People Should Read Kick-Ass Vol. 1
Kick-Ass Vol.1 is worth a read. You haven’t seen an origin story played out in this way for a major superhero. When they become like the people they’re hurting, this often marks a dissent to darkness. In reality, it might actually be the logical choice. There are a lot of nuances that build upon old super-hero conventions to make a new spin that’s worth an investment.
I’m looking forward to seeing more from Patience Lee as Kick-Ass because of this volume. My biggest hope is that the old series doesn’t impede on the perception of the new protagonist. If you’re looking for a copy of Kick-Ass Vol. 1, you can head towards your local comic book shop, pop over to Image Comics, or stare deep into the eyes of Amazon.