Kick-Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

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Kick-Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The final volume in this cycle of adventures, bringing everything to an explosive, yet natural and timely end.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 232 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783290871

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At the start of this book, Hit-Girl is stuck in a super-max prison (don't ask why). The entire east coast Mafia command is up for grabs (you don't need to ask why – Hit-Girl killed most of them herself). As for Dave, or Kick-Ass, he's failing. He has a whole cohort of other super-heroes, which in this world means dweebish fans of comics with a stupid costume yet no power other than the determination to do well for society, but they're not going anywhere. They're not spotting crime or solving conspiracies, and they're certainly not getting their colleague and mentor Hit-Girl out of jail. Dave could in actual fact be in danger of the most heinous crime of all – growing up.

You'd think he would have had the chance to grow up before now. Being around Hit-Girl with her incredible violence and vigilante spirit (and incredibly pithy, blue vocabulary) would surely make a man of you. Being beaten up so often by street thugs when you have to accept you have nothing other than a daft set of clothes and a mask to protect you should put hairs on your chest. Here, for this fourth and final part of the trilogy, maturity doesn't come from being a super-hero, but from Dave getting laid by an older woman.

And that's the rub. While this book was fully prepared to be about things in amongst the gore, ultra-violence and swearing, and while domesticity and maturity can be subjects for comics, they don't sit well on the page. Hit-Girl is reduced to being shown on a gurney after yet one more violent yet failed jail break, and we want her ballsiness and not what we do get. Speaking of balls, the friends of Dave who see him alienating himself from the cause aren't alone in wanting him to drop the sexy girlfriend (who seems richly suspicious at first, only for that idea to be abandoned) and try and be a hero.

This is a quite two-faced comic. It promises so much, yet gives so little. Dave should at least have more than the intent to break Hit-Girl out. Millar shows so much meaty crime going on, with corrupt cops, a new capo di tutti i capi arriving and more, yet we get nookie for one lead and a psychiatrist for another. The book riffs off comic fandom so frequently, successfully and evidently, then posits the fact that comics might not have actually lead to anything.

This title was very much in danger of doing that – not leading to anything, but finally we do get what we came for. Without giving away any spoilers, the series does try to have a climax – and no, I'm not still on about the sex. It peaks as it should, in a way and a visual fashion that it should, but a lot of what came (again, not the sex) beforehand wasn't necessary. That lack of tautness, lack of focus and over-maturity went a long way towards spoiling the book for me, although thankfully they didn't quite succeed. What's weird, of course, is that the sex, violence and cussing of the series before now has been brilliantly, maturely juvenile – clever, thrilling, justified. Just by making Dave eighteen we get too much maturity that wasn't justified, meaning that the series really did have to end here. It's unfortunate it ended as it did, and in a way it's unfortunate it had to end at all, so brilliant were the early volumes, but we now have to look elsewhere for Millar's own, particular brand of mature ultra-violence. Dave has grown up, despite everything, too badly yet too well.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

If you only know this author's Kingsman from the cinema, now's a fine time to see the original.

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