Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl - Graphic Novel Review

In an increasingly common move, especially for comic book films, the forthcoming Kick-Ass 2 (due August in the US) finds itself with a graphic novel prelude, setting up the events between the first film and the new sequel. Hit-Girl - loosely masquerading as the tale of Mindy Macready, but really focusing almost equally on Dave Lizewski - sets us up with Mindy now living with her Mother and Step-Father, having lost Big Daddy in the first film.

With Red Mist banished to far off lands, the greatest service this interlocutor to the franchise does initially, for film fans, is to build up the 'real world superheros' angle. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are no longer the only kids with nun-chucks on the block here and a glance down the cast list and at the trailer for the sequel suggests that's going to continue to be the case in the second film. Welcome to a world where everyone can be a 'hero', even if the opening pages of this suggest that may not be such a good idea.

Nominally, the plot is concerned with the new influence of Red Mist's uncle on the Genovese crime family but the character interest here stems mainly from Mindy's attempts to integrate into school life. There's some decent material, but writer Mark Millar gets sidetracked by the less-interesting, generic, plot about killing gangsters too often and, occasionally, the critiques of teenage existence are a little too obvious for their own good. Could no more interesting, less on-the-nose, target than The Kardashians really be found?

Another influence gaining ground on a seemingly daily basis, there's also some consideration of a superhero's place in a society decimated not by super-villains but by super-debts. The Dark Knight Rises has cornered this particular comic book property market already, but if Kick-Ass 2 can add some much-needed levity to it (as it tries to do on one occasion here) then perhaps it will be an interesting addition to the conversation.

The artwork by John Romita Jr. continues to be of an exceptional standard, although some of the covers and their variants occasionally have a tendency to make Mindy look like some sort of weird Gremlin, teeth and mouth wider than her head. The violence is well portrayed and unflinching though and there's enough here to recommend it to fans of the first film, planning to see the second, although, with a hefty price tag of £16.99, it could take some of its own advice regarding our economic woes.

Hit-Girl is out now from Titan Books.

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