*This review contains KICK-ASS 2 spoilers*
And so begins Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's final story with Dave Lizewski and Hit-Girl. Much to my surprise, the creative duo doesn't kick-off the last tale with any of their signature violence and gore. The focus is instead shifted to establishing the current status quo for the characters and, of course, a great dose of laughs along the way. If you haven't read KICK-ASS 2, all you really need to know is Mindy's now in jail and Dave's dad was murdered.
We've already had three limited-series which were packed with comic references and vulgar jabs, yet Millar's jokes and banter are still fresh and fun. There's an awesome nod to Spidey's classic card and Dave points out out a key problem with his friend's execution of the idea. There's also an entertaining but totally random conversation about movie action hero names. And of course, despite all of us being more than familiar with Mindy by now, she still manages to shock with a particularly harsh remark -- one that would definitely make any dude follow her orders, that's for sure.
Despite all of the crazy and ridiculous things Dave has been through, Millar keeps the series realistic (for the most part) and it's a nice reminder that we're dealing with everyday people who just want to dress up and make a difference. But when it comes to the really big challenges, Millar keeps it grounded. You're not going to see Dave busting into police stations or anything along those lines and that's executed in a totally amusing fashion. And there's nothing wrong with that because I guarantee 95% of us would react the exact same way.
At this point you should really know what to expect when it comes to John Romita Jr's art. A few panels aside, he's definitely giving it his all with this one and the work remains at the same level as the other chapters. Tom Palmer and Dean White help make Romita's illustrations feel more dynamic and there's some solid examples of lighting, environment and a few effects (glass shattering, dust kicking up as Dave hits the ground). If you've enjoyed the look of the series thus far, you're sure to be pleased.
Dave posing for pictures by his father's grave was certainly funny, but for me, it killed the emotional weight behind the second volume's terrible events and the insurmountable amount of guilt he must feel over what went down. I understand that to some degree this is showing how much focus Dave has lost without proper leadership, but given all that he's been through, I can't help but feel like he'd be above exploiting his father's death just for a cool set of images on his social media pages. Also, maybe I missed something, but how is he having financial difficulties when Mindy left him two million? I know he's not allowed to blow all of it, but I imagine that can more than cover his basic living expenses for half a year.
Rain is by no means easy to incorporate in comics and I feel like Romita Jr. went a bit overboard and made the water too thick. To me, it almost looks like the impact is ooze bubbling when it hits and the dripping seems more like the substance is melting instead of flowing. Additionally, his facial features tend to be hit or miss for me. Hit-Girl's head appears pretty large and brows tend to be particularly prominent.
Minor gripe: the "next" tease on the inside of the back cover takes away from the issue's cliffhanger because it apparently gives away what'll go down with those thugs. Bad assery and Dave punching two gunmen in the face? Yeah, it seems safe to say he smacks them around and will be just fine.
Unlike the first volume, there's no big bad yet and unlike the second volume, we don't immediately know what the future holds. Instead, Millar puts the spotlight on how seemingly mundane (compared to previous events, that is) their lives have become after what transpired in KICK-ASS 2. They rarely make arrests and the most exciting thing for Dave was catching a wasted and passed out thief. But mundane for them certainly isn't a bad thing for us, especially in Millar's hands. The issue remains fun, even if a scene is as simple as characters babbling during their part-time job. While this opening issue didn't hook me quite as much as Millar's other first chapters in the universe, it's still really, really, really enjoyable.
And I don't know about you, but I have a terrible feeling Millar's going to break our hearts when it comes to Dave or Mindy.