For those that didn’t read the first chapter in this new creative team’s story, let me catch you up: Jeff Lemire is writing Mark Millar’s Hit-Girl and Eduardo Risso is drawing it. Great! All caught up!
In this second issue, Hit-Girl finds herself in Lemire’s stomping grounds of Canada, where she’s attempting to escape a bear trap. A mysterious man saves her while the family of a slain drug dealer is hot on Hit-Girl’s trail.
While healing up, the two develop a contentious and cold relationship that eventually thaws, both filling surrogate roles of one’s they’ve lost.
Playing in Millar’s sandbox, Lemire tones down the zany, over-the-top insane-action-movie tone of the initial series, substituting severed limbs for character building.
This is Lemire’s strong suit, and it’s interesting to see a strength he’s had finely honed since Essex County applied to a character so fucking out there like Hit-Girl and have us, the audience, actually feel sympathy for what’s typically been a character that’s typically boiled down to Teen That Cusses And Kills.
He makes this Canadian town feel lived-in, with the local sketchy bar, the down-on their-luck freelance killers, and pissed-off father looking for revenge, all brimming with their own distinct personalities.
As for the titular star, Lemire nails Hit Girl’s tone (“You just live out here all alone then? Live off the land? That kind of thing?… Sounds boring as shit, ask me.”), but never let’s her become a caricature. While the cursing or off-putting personality may have felt like provocation before, here, with her substitute Big Daddy, Lemire makes it feel like a defense mechanism from a frightened teenager.
Bringing the story to further near-grounded status is Risso’s shadow-heavy art, showing us a side of Canada that isn’t often explored, it’s darkness literally consuming itself. Mulvihill provides brilliant pops of color, purple with Hit-Girl, and hot spurts of blood contrasting against the powder blue snow being highlights.
If you’ve ever been somewhat curious about Hit-Girl but were put off by Millar’s art or whatever, give this run a chance and jump aboard with this issue. It’s fairly standalone from previous incarnations and Lemire has imbued the series with enough character and gravitas to keep newbies interested.
For example, where before I’d expect the cliffhanger to go a fairly predictable way–Hit Girl escaping the cabin, killing all the villains looking to kill her– now, I’m not so sure.
Lemire has a way of gut-punching his audience, and I’m ready for the hit.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Letterer: Clem Robins
Hit-Girl #6 is currently available from Image Comics.