Kick-Ass #1

I’m not the kind of guy who normally buys single issues of comic books, but sometimes an exception must be made. Such was the case when I discovered the new collaboration between Mark Millar (Super Man: Red Son, Wanted) and John Romita Jr. (Spider-Man, Wolverine) from the Marvel imprint Icon.

Kick-Ass is about an absolutely normal teenage boy who decides to be a superhero. Dave Lizewski is just another teenager trying to survive high school. His obsession with comics naturally leads him to pursue a career in superheroism. When his friends mock him, he aptly points out that maybe one out of a million will ever be a rock star but it never stopped anyone from buying an electric guitar.

Millar shows us that nothing in Dave’s life necessarily pushed him into superheroism. Although his mother died when he was 14, it was simply an aneurysm – tragic, but not dramatic. His father is depressed and works the night shift. So what does it take to make a superhero? According to Millar it’s “just the perfect combination of loneliness and despair.”

Romita’s art is the perfect complement to Millar’s writing. The art is both visceral and dramatic. Romita has a strong command of line, texture and movement that brings vitality to the comic. The details of his characters are considered down to the finest nuances of posture and facial expression.

Kick-Ass is by turns hilarious and morbid, cynical and inspiring. Millar and Romita aren’t afraid to poke fun at the comic enthusiasts who support the industry, and they’re also not afraid to expose the grotesqueries of teenage life in all its thrill and shame.

My biggest gripe is that I have to wait for the next installment of the story to come out. Otherwise this was a perfectly executed comic: it sucked me in on the first page and left me drooling for more by the time it was over. Props to two of the best men working in comics today!