Saturday, 9 August 2014

Kick Ass 3 Review (Mark Millar, John Romita Jr)

Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s Kick Ass was a surprise hit, both as a comic and a movie. It was wild, different and very fun and introduced us to the brilliant Hit Girl, a tiny Tazmanian Devil of violence. Then we got the sequel and the Hit Girl spin-off - neither were as great as the first book but they were still pretty decent. And now we have the threequel, which is also the final Kick Ass instalment - and it was one too many. 

Mindy, aka Hit Girl, is in jail while Dave, aka Kick Ass, is on the outside, kinda committed to breaking her out with his “superhero” team, Justice Forever, but also kinda not. Because there’s this hot girl he wants to sleep with. And he doesn’t really feel like being Kick Ass anymore. Meanwhile, cliched Italian mobsters are out to be cliched Italian mobsters and Mark Millar shows us just how few ideas he has left for this series. Then it’s over. Thank fuck for that! 

Kick Ass 3 didn’t need to be 8 issues long. There’s so little to this final instalment that it could’ve easily been a 3-issue miniseries, or Millar could’ve left it as it was at the end of Kick Ass 2: Mindy in jail, Dave lucky to be alive. That would’ve been preferable to this bloated pile o’ nothing. 

The whole book is made up of half-formed plotlines that are abandoned before their end. Dave plans to break out Hit Girl with Justice Forever before realising none of them have the skills necessary to do anything quite so risky, so they leave Hit Girl behind. Dave then pisses about for the whole book living out his superhero fantasies. This is Dave’s motivation in the book: to re-enact Batman’s big entrance scene in Year One. That’s his goal for the entire book! It’s so pathetic.

Justice Forever is kinda falling apart but who cares because no-one in the book does, least of all Millar or the reader, while Mindy treads water in jail until her inevitable escape and ensuing bloodbath of revenge. The Italian mobsters do mobster-ish things while they wait to be killed by Hit Girl. Chris Genovese was bad but now he’s kinda good - whatever. None of this shit is even remotely interesting. 

And that’s the worst part of this book - it’s super boring. Kick Ass was never boring before but it is now. Dave’s struggling with the superhero side of his life alongside his real one, mob guys are being evil, “superheroes” are being killed - it’s all stuff we’ve seen before. There’s an extended look at how Mindy became Hit Girl but it’s totally unnecessary as we know how she became Hit Girl: Big Daddy made her do terrible things. Again, we’ve seen it before, so what’s the point of showing it again? Filler. 

There were a few moments here and there that were good. The way the ending mirrored the beginning of the series was a nice touch, and it was funny seeing Mindy’s psychologist, Dr White, looking exactly like Walter White from Breaking Bad. John Romita Jr’s art is good too and shows that he put much more effort than Millar put into his script. 

But overall, Kick Ass 3 is an overlong, dull slog through an uninspired storyline without any ideas to a rote finish. 

It’s pretty clear that Millar’s more or less given up on working hard at his comics’ scripts and is now totally focused on movies. His comics are now elaborate pitches aimed at studios rather than stories for the comics crowd. Kick Ass 3 is just another of his recent books that’ve been sub-par - The Secret Service, Jupiter’s Legacy and MPH are all very poorly written despite having phenomenal artists like Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely and Duncan Fegredo attached. 

The final chapter of the book ends like a Marvel movie with a credits sequence followed by an after-credits scene. The after-credits scene in a Marvel movie is supposed to be a teaser for the audience to make them want more but the effect after reading this book is the opposite - guys, seriously, no more, just STOP!

Kick-Ass 3

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