Mindy McCready aka Hit-Girl is without question one of the most entertaining parts of the KICK-ASS franchise. In KICK-ASS 3, she's behind bars, yet writer Mark Millar still reminds us several times why she's not only a great character, but also one we love. However, keeping her locked up does limit her potential, so Millar uses this extra-sized issue to take a look back into the very early years of her training.
We know what the dynamic between Hit-Girl and Big Daddy was like, yet the writer finds new ways to illustrate just how over-the-top the relationship truly was. There's one instance where even the smallest slip-up would literally result in Mindy losing her arms. If that's not tough love, I just don't know what is. Aside from presenting new and very entertaining training sessions from Mindy's past, this issue also reveals a side of the character we haven't seen before. To say any more would potentially spoil it, but it's a great way to humanize the character and what follows will definitely make you root for her even more.
At this point, you know whether or not you like John Romita Jr's distinct style. Well, good news if you do, because he's absolutely bringing his "A" game with this issue. Not only is his work with each character solid -- emotions, movements and all -- but he also does some honestly impressive work creating an immersive setting for each scene. KICK-ASS is well-known for its graphic violence and that's partially what made the first volume popular, but with this volume, Millar's clearly focusing on character moments instead of gore to shock us. And even though five people are shot in this issue, it's never overly violent. In fact, the polar opposite happens for one slow reveal and it's very effective. Tom Palmer (inks and washes) then brings this all to life, giving Romita Jr's work a tad more depth. Despite there being two colorists (Dean White and Michael Kelleher), there's never a jarring or even noticeable difference as we go from scene to scene. One thing I really appreciated was how much time and detail went into making sure many of the locations had their own unique and noticeably different tones and lightning.
The cliffhanger is definitely shocking at first, but if you take a moment to think about how a certain character has been handled in this volume, it seems safe to say there's definitely more than meets the eye with this one. If Millar wants to give these characters a proper sendoff, it's safe to say we all know this person shouldn't be the one to do it and it won't be this simple. But hey, I guess we won't know for sure until the next issue.
Seeing as this is an extra-sized issue, it has a cover price of $4.99. I mean, if you enjoy the franchise, you're obviously going to shell out the cash to read this one, but aside from Mindy and the bit with Dave and Ass-Kicker, the rest feels like a bit like filler and is just there to give us a pretty brief update on everyone else. It would have been great to maybe trim one of those pages and give that extra time to Mindy or Dave.
While most of the artwork was consist, it is distracting how Mindy's anatomy changes every now and then. At one point, she looks too short (the rain execution) and in another her head seems a bit too big.
Alright, spoiler time. Diving back into Mindy's history and revealing the issues behind her first kill gives us a stronger emotional connection to the character. Seeing as we're in the last volume and no one is safe, that almost feels like the kiss of death. I don't think she'll die like the cliffhanger implies (as stated above), but if Millar's suddenly boosting how much we care about her, it makes me think he's about to take her away since that'll make us even more emotional over the loss. Maybe I'm completely wrong and he's laughing as he (hopefully) reads this, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see!
It's simple: if you're a KICK-ASS fan, you need to read this issue. Because if you're a fan of the franchise, odds are you're a fan of Hit-Girl, and this is a huge issue for her. We've come to know her as a shockingly badass kid, but Millar dedicates this issue to giving us a whole new look at the character and it's one that definitely makes her story even more interesting. Now it's time to see how Millar plans to wrap this all up. Bring on the penultimate issue!