From the reasons behind the new female Kick-Ass donning the costume to the resulting fallout, even down to this book’s new location, Mark Millar is doing all he can to create an all-new, all different ass-kicking version of one of his most famous creations rather than repeat past glories, and you can’t help but take your hat off to him to give to a go.
Millar transposes the action to the far more Middle American Albuquerque, New Mexico where returning army veteran and mother of two, Patience Lee comes home to a truck load of problems that she never envisioned while fighting for her family and her country in Afghanistan. Her husband has upped and left her and, to make matters worse, left her in a mountain full of debt he is more than happy to pass onto her. What a great guy, right?
Patience’s story, while in a comic book, is one many a reader can sympathise with, I’m sure, as she returns home from an illegal war to do battle on the home-front against a system that has no time for people like her. And so, desperate times call for desperate measures, resulting in her picking up the green and yellow boiler suit and embarking on a career she should never have had to plan for. Hell, at least her Army experience – glimpsed at in flashback here – means she’s more ready for the job than David Lisewski ever was. Another difference.
It’s easy for any reviewer to point out the usual Millar traits; the swearing, the ultra-violence, the playing around fast and loose with well known comic book tropes in an original and black-humoured way, but Millar produces a book here, along with the delicate yet detailed artwork of John Romita Jr. (helped out by inker and colourist Peter Steigerwald who helps create a digital illusion of watercolours added directly over Romita’s pencils) that has something to say about the lives of such people who serve their country only to find their country doesn’t want to serve them back. Gone are Patience’s hopes of a college education, her hopes of bettering herself, and when she does chose the path she does, I don’t think the reader can blame her. Being a parent’s tough enough, but being a single parent carries it’s own problems too.
It’s a promising first issue and reading it feels completely different to the original Kick-Ass to the point where I did ask myself, “Why?” Why Kick-Ass when she could have become a very different hero within the ever expanding Millarverse, as there seems to be, as yet, no connection, even tenuously. Maybe we’ll find out in future issues, but it’s not important, not really. Not when you’ll be drawn into the family melodrama that causes Patience to pick up where Dave left off.
Kick-Ass #1 is out this Wednesday 14th February from Image Comics.