This past week I found Kick-Ass at the local library, and I had to pick it up. I’ve seen the movie adaptation a few times. It’s irreverent, at times dark, and hilarious. For a comic book movie, it wasn’t too bad. It’s fairly faithful to its source material, although some of the flair and power of Mark Millar’s story faded away in the translation from comic to film.

Kick-Ass is published by Marvel Comics, but none of its iconic heroes exist in this universe. The comics do exist, however, which inspires high-school nerd Dave Lizewski to become a real-life superhero…and sucking at it over and over again, as he constantly tells himself.

Dave’s voice plays a tremendous part in the power of Kick-Ass. He’s sarcastic to the point of self-deprecation about his complete inability to talk to girls or his ‘superhero abilities’. He and his friends curse (and they actually say ‘fuck’ instead of ‘#%*@’, like most traditional comics) and even use the word ‘retard’ fairly liberally. His direct, straightforward way of thinking may put a lot of people off right away, but Dave truly sounds like a teenager. I know that may not seem like a big deal, but a lot of writers struggle to write young people authentically.

Speaking of things that may be off-putting, this story doesn’t shy away from gratuitous violence. John Romita, Jr illustrates the grit and gore of a fight with a gripping energy. Every fight is bloody. When people get shot, sinew and blood spurts out the other end of the bullet hole. A preteen girl cuts people apart with deadly precision alongside her father. This story doesn’t coddle its readers, not one bit.

I don’t want to say more about the story. It’s fairly similar to the movie, but the book is far less campy and has a couple of twists that make it surprisingly powerful. Through all of the language and violence lies a sobering story about people trying to make a difference in the American tradition of superheroes. If you’re looking for a non-traditional comic book story, I’d recommend giving this a shot.

If you’ve read 2 Sisters, let me know what your thoughts are.

I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I hadn’t read it, I’ll add it to the list!

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