Graphic Novel Review – Hit-Girl

Collecting: Hit Girl #1-5 (Interlude between Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2)

Original Release Date: 2012-2013

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Character: Mindy McCready (Hit-Girl), Dave Lizewski (Kick-Ass), Chris D’Amico (Red Mist), Marcus Williams, Ralph D’Amico

Writer: Mark Millar (Kick-AssThe Secret ServiceStarlight, WantedCivil War)

Art: John Romita Jr. (Kick-AssWho is the Black PantherAmazing Spider-ManWorld War Hulk)

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Art – 8
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 10
Use of Medium – 7
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 8
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 10
Overall awesomeness – 9

 

hit girl review 4

Not all superheroes come in hulking bodies, a limitless supply of cash or come from a mysterious foreign planet. In the case of Hit Girl and Kick-Ass, they come in the form of regular people. This revolutionary series by two of the industries heaviest hitters redefines what fans think of superheroes, and it does it without ever being unaware of what it is. It is satirical of the comic book industry, while still paying homage to the near century of comic book lore that has preceded it.

hit girl review 3

Fans of the movie Kick-Ass 2 (our review here) will be familiar with the vague outline of the story in Hit-Girl, as the events of the story were kind of covered by the film’s plot. After the events of the first Kick-Ass, Mindy has thrown up the mantle of Hit-Girl (yeah, right!) and Dave is back in the streets cracking heads over loose change. When Mindy’s high aspirations of taking down the new Boss in Staten Island demand a sidekick, Dave becomes the most suitable candidate. Meanwhile, Mindy finds that she is having trouble fitting in with her classmates in junior high. I suppose a decade of one on one training with a crime-fighting dad will do that to you. It’s an enjoyable story that does the franchise justice, and I enjoyed reading it the whole way through, even if I was rolling my eyes at how over-the-top it has all become.

hit girl review 2

What makes this Kick-Ass interlude kick so much ass is Mindy McCready, herself. The young crime-fighter is barely old enough to like boys, yet she is one of the deadliest characters in comic books today. Although she cares for Dave as a friend and *snicker* sidekick, there is a business decision struck between the two. Being raised on nothing but hardcore vigilante justice has left Mindy’s soft skills lacking, and she has recruited Dave to help her blend in with the rest of the mean girls in her junior high. It becomes apparent that punches and a sweet collection of fatalities isn’t going to solve this problem. The book is full of hyberbolic situations that young women Mindy’s age go through, and while it’s a little unrealistic to think that handling your problems like Hit-Girl does is a plausible solution to any adolescent troubles, they are all problems that tweeners go through.

hit girl review 6

In addition, Millar gives us some superb origin telling with Hit-Girl and her Big Daddy, which makes you sad that she misses him, but not quite sad that he is gone. While it was adorable to see her lure rapists into a car and then shoot them in the eye through her teddy bear, it really started to cross the line from over-the-top to gratuitous. The story was also very basic. It got the job done, and it set up the events of Kick-Ass 2 nicely in a fashion that could only constitute a Mark Millar-John Romita Jr. collaboration. The social commentary and excessive violence is what you come to expect with this franchise. Whether it’s discussing the lack of new superheroes in the industry or how to correctly deliver a punch line to catch your enemies by surprise, Hit-Girl is a mirror reflecting society’s highly romanticized view on the superhero world.

hit girl review 5

At the end of the day, you will know whether or not you like Hit-Girl before you open the front cover. It’s hilarious that tweener like Mindy whoops everybody’s ass, but it’s not a joke. Her size is one of her biggest assets, and her reputation takes a hit when she tries to play the mean girl game on their level instead of just being herself. Female superheroes do not need to be boob windows or short skirts to be heralded. There is a message to be had, but it might be hard to make out from the copious amount of blood, gore and obscenities. Damian Wayne, eat your heart out.

All media credited to Marvel Comics

Comic Book Reviews 06-25-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

 

Superman #32 – A

No, this is not Bizzaro World; Superman actually got a higher score than Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. This is proof that DC’s poster-child, Clark Kent, is not washed up. All it takes is a phenomenal creative team, and the Man of Steel is returned to his former glory. Thanks to writer Geoff Johns, I’m ready to start following Superman for the first time since George Pérez left at the beginning of The New52. He did have a little help from DC Comics’ rookie, JOHN ROMITA JR. That’s right – legendary Spider-Man artist and Kick-Ass co-creator is drawing the most iconic character in comic book history now. The best part about this book is that it is a perfect jumping-on point for new or estranged readers. Not that I can solicit this book any harder, but the story had me humming the John Williams theme song. The Big Blue Boy Scout is back! – Sherif

 

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse:

Dream Thief: Escape #1 – B+

Dream Thief is a new comic out this week and it is pretty cool, I gotta say.  The story is a nice twist on revenge and possession, both major factors in main character Johnny Lincoln’s life.  Johnny gets possessed by murdered ghosts sometimes.  Those ghosts then go find their murders and use Johnny to kill their murderers.  While it sounds very creepy, it is a pretty funny book because it has a lot of quips to keep the story just light enough to not be so disturbing.  The story takes place in the mid 80’s in Florida, which makes a for a very beautiful and colorful backdrop.  The book ends with Johnny meeting another person, a very special person (no spoilers, I promise) who also gets possessed by ghosts, allowing the story to end on a pretty major cliffhanger, and making me want to pick up this book immediately next month! – Adrian

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6 – B+

Another series that has come to an end and after six months, Serenity and its crew finally get everything, well almost everything resolved.  The series ends on a great note and one that I really wish I could see done with the cast and crew of the show. This last issue makes any Serenity fan tear up by just looking at the cover with Wash being so prevalent so seeing that image going into the last issue it sets you up to have so much of what happened to Wash get resolved and have everyone on the track to healing after the insane events of the film Serenity. – Jacob

 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #32 – A-

Zero Year is really heating up as we approach the climax – the showdown between Batman and Nygma is heating up… kinda. There is a constant back and forth between the two to see who has the statistic advantage. Even though both are so young in their respective masked careers, they are both supremely sharp and the battle of wits is a site to see. The issue ends on yet another cliff-hanger, and this one makes a little less sense than I would have liked, but that’s the nature of a story centered around The Riddler. Batman has been the most consistently great book in the DC staple, so if you’re on the fence, definitely read this arc. – Sherif

Justice League #31 – A

The idea of Lex Luthor being a valued member of the League is ridiculous, and writer Geoff Johns is not afraid to show it. Since a very dreary Forever Evil arc, Justice League is enjoying a nice little break before the next Big Bad comes along. Unlike other books, there’s no filler here. We get to see the new Power Ring, as it begins to corrupt a poor young woman in Portland. Meanwhile, Lex comes to Bruce Wayne with that shocking discovery, and it’s interesting to see Lex get the upper-hand of the detective who’s always thinking six steps ahead. Mostly though, it’s Shazam and Cyborg that steal the show with their hilarious banter at the Watchtower. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Super Secret Crisis War #1 – A

Here we have an ultimate team up of all of our favorite Cartoon Network characters joining together because all of their villains are planning to take over multiple worlds together. For this issue I love how each character is done in their distinctive style and yet they all feel like they belong together which makes this issue so much more than just pictures of my favorite cartoons together. Hopefully with all the main issues and one shots included in this series we will get to a point where it all is explained a little bit better than what we got in this issue, but it is all leading up to a series that will have anyone who watched Cartoon Network freaking out because of happiness by the end. – Jacob

X-Files: Season 10 #13 – B

Thins are getting real! More of The Lone Gunmen, more Krycek,, and everyone is crazy! This issue is definitely one of the better ones as part 3 of this current story arc, and we get a couple answers but just like X-Files, we get more questions. The art in this series can be a little hit or miss, as it is not very detailed and at times it can be hard to tell who is who. The writing of this series though is what makes it good and it gives me so much hope for another movie that could be awesome. Although this issue was great for me, I have not missed an issue so for anyone trying to start here it would likely be rather confusing. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Saga #20 – A

If I had a dollar for every time I screamed “Holy S***!” while reading this issue, I would have $3. Seriously, follow through the pages and tell me if you can spot them. I may still be a little punch-drunk off meeting Fiona Staples at Denver Comic Con, but I’m in love with her art, and with the beautiful writing of Brian K Vaughan. The range of story goes from “trouble in paradise” to straight up disturbing by the end of the issue. How long can Alana and Marko stay hidden? What the hell is going on with Prince Robot IV? Mostly, though, I wonder how many more times can we tell you how amazing Saga is before you go read it?? – Sherif

Deadly Class #6 – A

A “sadistic, twit redneck who likes to f*** sheep” sounds like the most terrifying villain of all time. This book is so ludicrous; I love it. The kids’ trip to vacation has been no vacation, but they band together over a common enemy – the way everything plays out had my eyes wide and my heart racing. At the end of the day, every issue of Deadly Class has been beautiful and brutal, and this issue is no exception. This is a great read if you think need something to make you feel better about your own high school experience. Each issue uncovers more and more of the students’ pasts. This was a perfect way to close out the arc. – Sherif

Outcast #1 – B-

Robert Kirkman is at it… still. I can’t really say “again” because well, The Walking Dead is still happening.  Anyway, Outcast is Kirkman’s answer to the Horror genre. We follow main character Kyle Barnes and his really bad luck with the women who are closest to him getting possessed by demons, and then he has to exorcize them.  I’m not sure if this is a comment on women or not, but I’ll tell you this, for the first 20 pages of the 48 page issue, I had no clue what was going on.  But don’t let this turn you off.  By the end of the story, it all kind of makes sense.  And leaves enough unsaid that makes the reader want to know more about Kyle, our new demon hunter hero, or should I say Outcast? – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Amazing Spider-Man #3 – B

The return of Peter Parker has been a solid one so far. While he was “away,” Otto Octavius made quite the mess of his life: pissing off frenemies, chasing off close friends, and falling in love with another woman. The story with Black Cat is getting very interesting, as she is reborn with a lot more moxie this time around. Peter, meanwhile, is learning the joys of owning your own business. It’s quirky and fun, but is lacking of any real substance right now. The story is still building, so I’m sure that will change in the next couple issues. – Sherif

Ms. Marvel #5 – C+

I don’t know what happened between the end of issue #3 and this one, but somewhere along the line, the book lost a lot of momentum. I’m still really excited to see where Ms. Marvel is going, but it seems to have lost a bit of the flare and the social relevance that catapulted it to the top of my reading list each issue. I’m still interested in the story, and the dynamic characters are a lot of fun in themselves, but it still needs something to push it back over the hump. – Sherif

Original Sins #2 – C+

This series obviously is a way to connect lesser character of the marvel universe to the Original Sin storyline going on now. All of the stories so far don’t really show much connection but a small mention of the events in Original Sin. Each issue is going to contain a large Young Avengers story and then two other stories one being a medium size and the other usually just two pages. It does make me happy that Howard the Duck got to be the small story in this issue, but other than that novelty, I don’t see too much of a connection between these stories to warrant purchasing this issue unless you are a completest. – Jacob

Deadpool vs Carnage #4 – C-

Although this series has been dull, and left you wondering why is it happening (which is actually quite strange considering the other things Deadpool has done). In this last issue we finally get everything resolved, absolute insanity is brought down to a little bit crazy, and we can all finally take a nap and forget it all ever happened. But seriously this series has been entertaining for what it is, the artwork has definitely been good throughout the series and this last issue. Ultimately this series will have its fans but mostly it is just a series to read on a boring day, and there are much worse things to readout there. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel

Shazam and Cyborg discuss additions to the Watchtower in Justice League #31
Shazam and Cyborg discuss additions to the Watchtower in Justice League #31

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

awesome panel 6.24
Superman and his mystery buddy tag team this robot in Superman #32

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

 

So Far this Week… February 5, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here bi-weekly.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

This week, we’re excited about several new books out, but none moreso than Ms. Marvel, which has been rebooted and features a young Muslim girl as the superhero. Read this article by The Washington Post to see why this is a BFD.

The Lex Luthor story line in the new Batman vs. Superman movie is going to be similar to something we’ve seen before.

The late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman still had a vital scene to film to complete the Mockingjay – Part II film. So what are they to do? Three words: C.G.I.

Kick-Ass news! John Romita Jr. will be coming to DC Comics to do Superman with Geoff Johns this summer. The team-up could give the Man of Steel a much-needed boost.

Voting for the 2014 Comic Alliance Readers’ Choice Awards ends soon! Go vote and feel validated!

Can anybody smell what The Rock is cooking? You can’t just Tweet out #JohnStewartCanStillWhupSupermansAss without people thinking that you will be playing the Green Lantern John Stewart in an upcoming movie.

The fairy-tale world is on fire right now – figuratively, of course. Zooey Deschanel will be producing an animated sitcom called Queen of Everything to FOX.

Long-running show Psych has been cancelled just a couple months into their eight season; the last episode airs March 26th.

Try to keep up here. The Flash’s new spin-off series, which begins filming in March, has found an actress to play Iris West, who is the love interest of Barry Allen, who is the Flash (shhhh!); her name is Candice Patton and she was in a show called The Game they also chose Broadway actor Carlos Valdez, who will play Vibe, a young and inexperienced hero who can emit powerful vibrations from his arms. He must be a hit with the ladies… Whoo, that was fast.

The next-gen release of Disney Infinity 2 will feature both Marvel and Star Wars characters. If you were looking for an excuse to buy the game, there it is!

Speaking of Star Wars, Disney has already announced that they will introduce the brand-new Star Wars Rebels series by way of original Disney Channel movie this Summer.

Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds aw-Kahhhhn!!! Benedict Cumberbatch stopped by to join the cast of Sesame Street.

Bill Nye, who is like, the Guy, when it comes to science, had a debate with best-selling Christian author Ken Ham to discuss Evolutionism vs Creationism. It’s a lengthy and intelligent debate held by NPR, so get some sleep, get your grand-dad’s pipe out and watch the debate here.

It might be the news about how crappy Sochi is doing, I was just thinking the other day that there haven’t been any good movies about an Olympic tragedy in a while. Enter Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill,  who will both co-star in a film about the 1996 Atlanta bomber.

Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry will be its own $15 downloadable game, meaning you won’t have to buy AC4 to get in on the action. I hope they do this with every game’s DLC going forward. Arrrrrr.

FX’s Archer is about to dead a whole lot better, as The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohan (Maggie) will be joining the show for multiple episodes. She describes her character as “a wealthy corrupt President’s wife who is vaguely European.” SOLD.

If you’ve read our “Shut Up and Take My Money” article on RetroFit gaming systems, then you will geek out when the RetroFit TRIO comes out in the next couple months.

So… who is going to beat the living f*** out of George Zimmerman? There were apparently 15,000 people who applied to fight Zimmerman. What a scumbag… Details of the fight will be announced in a week.

Ubisoft had a little debacle with the trademark name of their high-profile game Watch Dogs when somebody had fraudulently filed to dissolve the trademark name of the upcoming game. Ubisoft is trying to correct the issue and it should not impede the game’s release.

They’re talking about another Duke Nukem game. Oh God, Why?? Just let it die!

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear

Kick-Ass 2 Review

Kick-Ass 2
Genre – Comic Book/Action
Director – Jeff Wadlow
Cast – Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Christopher Mints-Plasse (Superbad), Jim Carrey, Donald Faison (Scrubs, Clueless), John Leguizamo (Ice Age)
Alluring element – A sequel to the 2010 movie about home-grown superheroes based off the original Kick Ass comics
Check it out if you liked – Kick-Ass, Watchmen, violent action movies, comic book movies
Plot – 8
Acting – 9
Representation of Genre – 10  
Cinematography – 8
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 10
Logical consistency – 9
Originality/Creativity – 7 
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

hush_rating_86

In a world saturated in comic book movies already, the Kick-Ass franchise well-represents the minority of the lesser-known stories. Unlike the hoards of comic book inspired films before it, Kick-Ass didn’t have fifty plus years of lore to pull from. All it had was one eight-issue run to create a fully-enveloped universe. There was no Batsuit to fit into, no Lois Lane to save and no Avenger to come save the day. Instead, Kick-Ass uses frequent fanboy references to characters of all nerd mythos. Come to think of it, I don’t know any other instance that the words “Batman” and “Stan Lee” are used together in the same movie. In doing so, Kick-Ass really makes viewers feel they are getting an entirely new experience. I also felt that the struggles of our main characters were much more relatable than those of the blockbusters hits. Struggling with superpowers is cool I guess, but what about just getting the crap kicked out of you for trying to stand up for what’s just? My childhood was much closer to the latter. Another great trait of the film is it’s ability to play as a comic book, full of Comic Sans panel transitions and bulging out character introductions.

The transition from comic book to film might have been done so well that few people have any idea it was based off a comic book to begin with – which, to me, is a big nod to the creator, Mark Millar, and the film’s director, Jeff Wadlow. Millar’s story is so well-crafted, with just as many witty comebacks and touchy feelings as there are gruesome violence and adult (like, SUPER-adult) language. There is a vast cast of characters that complement each other and the dialogue alone has enough momentum to carry the film to the end, which should be noted is very different from the book’s plot. All star talent like Jim Carrey and Donald Faison are great additions to the crew as Colonel Stars & Stripes and Dr. Gravity, respectively. Carrey serves almost as a father-figure to new “superheroes”, mirroring the same relationship that Hit Girl had with Big Daddy. However, as hard at Nicolas Cage tried, and believe me he tried, he’s just too corny to pull off being a badass superhero, especially one that was a cheesy rip-off of Batman to begin with. The charisma of Colonel Stars & Stripes reverberates throughout the film and he’s genuinely likable as an actor for the first time since Fun With Dick and Jane.

I can't tell who is the more convincing psycho.
I can’t tell which is the more convincing psycho.

Colonel Stars & Stripes’ merry band of misfits, Justice Forever, is comprised of various inspired citizens with tragic “origin stories,” especially a suspiciously familiar Battle Guy whose parents were shot in an alley behind the opera house. Or maybe that was Batman’s origin, whatever. Another is a slender gay man that battles against bullies and discrimination while refusing to wear a mask because “it reminds him too much of being in the closet.” My favorite, though, has to be the middle-aged married couple in Knicks-colored jumpsuits, trying to avenge their son’s death. On the other side of the spectrum is the Motherfucker and his Toxic Mega-Cunts (Sidenote: in case you were wondering if this was going to be a family flick, I can tell you now that it is not. You’re probably better off taking the kids to see American Pie.) Formally the Red Mist, The MF’er is bent on the destruction of Kick-Ass and all that he holds dear after Kick-Ass blew his dad up with a bazooka. I mean, vowing revenge is one thing, but dressing up in your mother’s BDSM (oh God, I wonder how many searches for BDSM will bring views here. How disappointing!) outfit and calling yourself a supervillain might be taking it too far. It’s a  archetypical approach that often feels heavy-handed through the film from Christopher Mints-Plasse. McLovin has managed to typecast himself after just one film (Superbad) and has really lost his charm by trying too hard to be a douchebag supervillain. I haven’t figured out if I dislike the acting or the character, but I just really can’t stand that Motherfucker.

Oh, how the times change.
Oh, how the times change.

The same dark and violent humor from the original returns in Kick-Ass 2, bringing back the same formula, but turning up the intensity – more death, more brutality and more foul language (most of which is handed out by Hit-Girl). Contrary to the popular belief that this is pointless and gratuitous, I feel that the tone of the movie and the book are both very dark and violent, in the same way that Sin City and Watchmen portray a bleak and dangerous outlook on their worlds. In fact, the movie actually pulled a few punches instead of unleashing its graphic content on us to prevent some bloodshed and sexual violence making it on screen and avoiding those scenes with awkward humor. That’s not to say Kick-Ass 2 is full of warm fuzzies. After the Sandy Hook massacre, supporting actor Jim Carrey came on the record of saying that after such a tragic act, there’s no way he could support that level of violence. I see when he is coming from, but I do not agree. After the Aurora theater shooting last year during The Dark Knight Rises, nobody rushed to condemn Batman and his use of violence. The truth is, Kick-Ass 2 is one of the most violent comic book movies you can watch, but it is also keen on showing the consequences of that violence and goes far to make clear that it is not something to be glorified. Dressing up and playing superhero isn’t a game. The most violent urge I had after watching the movie was to find a DARPA “sick stick” and use it in line at the DMV.

Another dynamic to the movie is that Hit-Girl is actually the main character. Although Kick-Ass is the title character, Chloe Grace Moretz has just as much screen time and character development as her male counter-part. She actually refers to herself as the Batman to Kick-Ass’ Robin throughout the film and is constantly saving Kick-Ass’… ass, training him and teaching him to be a better hero. It’s funny, because even though this is a Marvel book, there are deeper comparisons to DC Comics’ Batman and Robin – beyond the one that’s mentioned in the trailers. When Big Daddy dies at the end of the first Kick-Ass, hit girl is left grieving in a way that begs asking the question “what would happen if Damian Wayne survived Batman at 15 years old?” Both Damian Wayne and Mindy Macready are callous, trained killers that have a stubborn issue with authority. In this analogy, Kick-Ass plays Nightwing, an older more stable family-figure that brings Robin/Hit-Girl back from the darkness to find deeper meaning and guide them back on the right path. It’s an interesting angle that makes me appreciate the writing a little more.

Kick-Ass 2 has a lot to say, but the message can get muddled amongst the Tarantino-level violence and harsh language, but overall it is a great follow-up to an original idea. In a lot of ways, the sequel actually surpasses the original in terms of supporting cast and character development. The action scenes are on a larger scale and the comedy keeps you from crying from the tragedy. Its great writing leaves it open for a third installment to play out in a way that the comic book (ongoing) has a noticeably different direction than the movies.The Kick-Ass franchise is not just creating its own universe, but reflects a very real part of society in which people try to go out and make a difference doing the very thing that Justice Forever does in the movie. One thing that is transparent is that these real life superheroes aren’t gimmicks, well at least all of them. If you want to dress up and fight crime, you need to go out and do it. Or just watch this movie. All the reviews I’ve seen on it have been quite polar, but I recommend going out and seeing it for yourself to decide how much ass it really kicks.

Thanks guys! We'll see you in the third one.
Artist John Romita, Jr. and Writer Mark Millar getting super-photobombed by Dr. Gravity

Easter Eggs

Even past the above-mentioned connections, Kick-Ass 2 pays homage to comic book mythology in a number of ways. During the scene where Justice Forever christens their new hideout, all the heroes line up and take a picture very reminiscent of the photo that the Watchmen take when they form the team. Kick-Ass also wears an ironic “I Hate Reboots” Star Wars shirt to bed. Also, you can find references to other Marvel and Mark Millar work throughout the film, all found in Kick Ass’ room. Colonel Stars & Stripes is actually two different characters in the comics, Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes, with Stripes being the other founding member of Justice Forever with Colonel Stars.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib