Monday, September 15, 2008


This isn't the type of comic book that I used to read as a kid.

The comics code insignia is nowhere to be found on the cover of this series. Good thing too, because the amount of blood, profanity and references to pornography would have really wrecked those people of old when were trying to get EC Comics in line last century.

John Romita Jr. is a comic book artist that I have been aware of my entire life. His contributions to THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN were apparent when I was a kid, because I totally remember his name. His father was also a heavy player in the Marvel Universe as well. I know that a lot of people were miffed when John Romita Sr. stepped in for Ditko wayyy back when, but that is ancient history.

The Spiderman stories of old are done with here. KICK-ASS is a brutal flip on the whole scene. It starts with a kid strapped to a chair much like the end of any number of issues that I recall with Spider-Man. Usually, Spider-Man was beaten into some sort of submission and chained/tied to a chair while barely conscious. The moment of truth was coming, the badguys were about to unmask him, and something always happened.

We don't know what is going to happen to Kick-Ass when he is in such a chair. Kick-Ass, the high school dork turned self-styled super-hero in in deep though. We do know that he has wires hooked to his testicles and he his being interrogated. This comic doesn't shy away from that which is winceworthy. A stream of urine dribbles from the chair that Kick-Ass is tied to. This is all we know because he now starts to monologue. He gives us his story, which by issue four is still unfolding.

Dave Lizewski (Kick-Ass) wants more, and he likes comic books. So from his completely media drenched reality of comic books, video games and Internet porn he makes himself a superhero suit and goes out at night to see whatever it is that superheroes see. He also sets up a training regimen and puts on a little weight by eating red meat and fish.

Winceworthy is a word I coined 2 paragraphs ago, and that sums up his Dave's first encounter with crime. He gets beaten, with a level of violence that is reminiscent of HEAVY METAL magazine, and then he gets stabbed. Stumbling with thick patches and fountains of blood drizzling from his ruined body, he steps in front of a moving car. The damages are completely over the top. Broken legs, a crushed spine and candidacy for a series of metal plates in his head is how issue one ends. Dave's broken body is left in a puddle of blood, positioned like a chalked out corpse.

I read this comic and truly considered the human body as a balloon merely keeping our life fluids in place. The beating that Dave takes in issue one is obviously setting up his return to the superhero stance where he cannot be beaten again. Dave is becoming something, and it is very interesting.

It must be noted at this point that KICK-ASS is being filmed as a movie right now. Nic Cage has a role in the film that I can't even determine at this point. This is where the viral magic of this comic book comes to life. The movie is being filmed with elements of the plot that haven't been released to the general public yet. Interesting. It is unfortunate that it is Nic Cage, because he is a complete and utter hack who destroys everything he reads and touches. But once again, I have hope for the hopelessly sullied actor.

Even more interesting is this viral film put out by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. to further whet our appetites:

This footage coincides with the fight that Dave/Kick-Ass gets into after he has healed up from his first beating.

With nonstop pop-culture references, viral marketing and a movie slated to drop next year, it is time for you to thank me for putting this concept in your head now. This is obviously something that people are going to be chattering about incessantly in about a year.

The comic continues. Dave was apparently found beaten without his suit on. He is initially happy that this happened because he doesn't want to have to explain to his loving, widower father what he was doing in a superhero suit, bleeding to death on the street. There is a backlash though, and the high school kids place a homosexual hustler template on Dave. Dave is constantly swaying from feeling completely cool as a vigilante super hero and at other times feeling like a complete outcast/loser/geek. His internal monologue (which is from his electroded testicle frame of mind) is raw and painful. He has a Kick-Ass Myspace page with thousands of friends while his own page has only 8.

He answers a woman's MySpace request to talk to her abusive ex-boyfriend. At the apartment in question, Dave is once again in too deep. This one seems to be the situation that will kill him. However, a masked ten-year-old girl with machetes shows up and proceeds to butcher everyone in the apartment. Kick-Ass is now possibly on the hook for five murders. He chases the girl to her partner, another masked man who tells Dave to f*ck off.

What does this mean? It implies that the Dave doesn't have a monopoly on the masked vigilante market. The masked little girl is a disturbing vision, a real foul-mouthed killing machine. Dropping not only f but c-bombs as she slashes her way through her life. She is being trained obviously to become something monstrous by this older masked man who allows her to hit the car compactor button after an interrogation which clouds a comic panel with blood and guts.
Kick-Ass is rough, hard and completely profane. Kick-Ass is also a lot of fun. This is comic book violence as over the top as possible without going in the direction of say...LOBO. The viral nature of this whole thing, and the concept that the story is fully in place and scripted are enough to get anyone with a thirst for pop-culture knowledge in a frenzy. This isn't the kind of comic I read as a kid, and thank God I am now an adult.

-Mediasaurus Rex