While I loved the original Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2 was a huge disappointment given the needlessly graphic nature of it (something, I hear, the upcoming movie largely cuts thankfully). When I original heard Mark Millar and John Romita Jr were releasing a mini-series focusing on the popular Hit-Girl, I questioned that decision as the character really only works well in a limited capacity. Still, I was intrigued and enough of a fan of the Kick-Ass franchise to check it out.
And I was happy to find that Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl largely works (besides its needlessly long and clunky title). And it never misuses Hit-Girl at all. Sometimes when you spin-off a character into her own thing, it rarely works. Millar clearly had a plan and was able to make it fresh so it didn’t feel like a waste of time/needless cash-in. I suppose putting her out of her element (school) worked in its favor.
Taking place between the first two volumes of Kick-Ass (hence the “prelude” part), we find Mindy “Hit-Girl” McCready trying to lead a normal life after being reunited with her mother and step-father. However, she cannot help slipping back into her superhero ways as she continues plot against the Genovese crime family. Her step-dad (who also happens to be the only honest cop in New York) knows of her past and is increasingly trying to stop her from slipping back into it.
Hit-Girl really brought back the fun that was present in the first Kick-Ass. Yes, this comic is overly violent, but unlike Kick-Ass 2, it never crossed the line and most of the violence happens naturally. It was never gratuitous (from a narrative standpoint) and often quite funny (how can you not laugh when someone breaks their hand when trying to throw a punch?).
I will admit, though, some of the stuff in the book can be really tough to swallow at times. Mindy is just a bit too clever for her own good. Granted, that is a conceit of the character, but I have a hard time believing that she is able to completely hide the fact that she, among other things, is able to completely conceal a motorcycle under a house owned by a cop who is keeping an extremely strong eye on her and her activities. I suppose it is one of those things you need to “hand wave” over it.
I liked Hit-Girl. I recommend it, especially if you liked the first Kick-Ass. The tone is more aligned with the first volume than the second. It may not quite line up with how Kick-Ass 2 begins as it retreads a few things that were already resolved by the end of this series, but that, I think, has more to do with the fact that Millar didn’t know he was going to be writing a Hit-Girl prequel when he started on his Kick-Ass sequel. Then, this is just me being nitpicky.
Thumbs up Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl. Here is hoping that the final volume, Kick-Ass 3, retains this tone and feeling. If that is the case, then we will have something really special here.