Mark Millar & John Romita Jr - Kick-ass 2
Fast paced follow-up lacks edge and satire of its actually kick ass precursor
Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass was a darkly humorous, violent take on the idea of men in spandex. It also made for a fantastic film. Now we’re back on the streets of New York, where real life superheroes have come out of the closet and patrol the night; while none of them actually have superpowers, they’re happy just trying to help out.
The problem is that while it’s swearier, nastier and gorier, it doesn’t feel as edgy as the first volume. The inventiveness has gone only to be replaced by mean-spirited, large-scale set-pieces. There’s nothing like a perfectly placed ‘fuck’ in the dialogue for a good belly laugh but Kick-Ass 2 is more like a teenage boy standing in the street shouting expletives at the top of his voice and thinking it’s the funniest thing in the world (the main villain re-names himself The Mother Fucker, for example). It may not be especially offensive but it’s like a sledgehammer rather than a perfectly placed sniper bullet of satire, lacking the black humour that made the first instalment so engaging. Even John Romita Jr’s art feels sloppy this time round.
On the plus side, the fast pace will keep you hooked, there are a few great moments of pathos for the Dave Lizewski character (Kick-Ass himself), and even sketchy JRJ is better than most artists. Worst of all though, we’re now suffering the law of diminishing returns that is expected with Hollywood sequels rather than from one of the best writers in the comics medium. A disappointing follow-up.