Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know about the upcoming Kick-Ass 2 film, due for release in the UK in August 2013. While that was an entirely separate comicbook series, Titan Books were kind enough to send me a copy of the prelude that slots in nicely between the two films. Read my review of the original Kick-Ass graphic novel here.
Plot summary: Hit-Girl spins off into her own blood-soaked saga! Mindy tries to settle down as a regular schoolgirl, but really wants to be dispensing justice to the scum of New York. She takes Kick-Ass on as her sidekick, and, in return,he is helping her to survive school – without spilling anyone’s blood. But when Kick-Ass gets benched, leaving her to face the mafia solo, even Hit-Girl may be in over her head.
Created by Mark Millar and John Romita Junior, the duo that brought us the original Kick-Ass, the prelude takes place a short while after the first graphic novel. While it is necessary to have read that before picking up this (although why you’d pick this one up first anyway, I don’t know), this isn’t necessary to read Kick-Ass 2. Are we all caught up? Excellent.
I’ve watched the trailer for the new movie a couple of times now (and it looks amazing), and there are definitely scenes from this graphic novel in there. Clearly the main storyline is that contained in Kick-Ass 2, but with a little bit of backstory from this prelude.
Because that’s pretty much what this is – backstory. Or perhaps, as it takes place after the original, we should call it inbetweenstory. It’s much more domestic than the others – Hit-Girl is struggling to fit in at school, having missed out on what you’d call a normal childhood, and Kick-Ass has pretty much realised how crap he is and wants some proper training. Cue their deal.
Chris Genovese also features fairly frequently as he works on his plan to become a Super Villain. For me, this was the shining part of the book – he never actually comes into contact with Kick-Ass or Hit-Girl, but that doesn’t matter. I can see this backstory actually tieing in to Kick-Ass 2 in a very important way, and it’s fascinating to watch him develop. Parts are quite dry and amusing, which is a complete change of tone from the first movie.
There is a mini-plot involving some bad guys, but it very much takes a backseat as the focus is definitely on Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl’s lives. It’s still quite violent, but nowhere near as horrific as the first one. There’s nothing that shocked me really, while a few images from the original actually made me blink.
I’m not automatically classing ‘lack of violence’ as a bad thing, of course. I’m just not sure there was a need for this prelude really. I enjoyed reading it but I don’t think it’s added anything to my understanding of Kick-Ass 1 or 2. It will be nice to recognise the scenes in the film from here, but I don’t think it’s really necessary for anything else.
It’s a nice looking and interesting graphic novel for diehard Kick-Ass fans, but not really necessary for the casual reader/watcher.