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Kingsman: The Golden Circle review

Kingsman the Golden Circle posterBack in 2014, Kingsman: The Secret Service came out, based on the comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, and really surprised me by how much I enjoyed it.  It was a ridiculously fun spy movie.  Sure, part of the appeal was seeing Colin Firth in an action role, but the movie was more than that.  Kingsman: The Golden Circle is more of the same.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun continuation of the previous movie.  However, it is not without it’s own slew of problems.  First off, we’ll start with non-spoilery stuff.  The camera work was dizzying at times during hand-to-hand fight scenes.  Remember how the Bourne movies made the “shaky cam” popular in fight scenes?  Remember how awful it was to try to follow a fight scene with that “shaky cam” going?  Well, here they step that up a bit.  (more…)

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Taking a look at Kick-Ass

With the Kick Ass movie premiering on Friday, I decided to take a moment and read the eight issues that made up the first “book” of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass.  With its movie rights optioned before the first issue even hit shelves, I was expecting something incredible.  What I got was interesting…in both good and bad ways.

Kick-Ass is the story about a high school kid who decides that he wants to become a real life hero and quickly gets his ass kicked for his aspirations.  It’s a realistic view of what could happen with comic book heroics in the real world…until the 10 year old begins the book’s first bloody massacre…and certainly not the last.

That’s the real defining feature of Kick-Ass.  It’s quite possibly the bloodiest comic I’ve ever read…up there with the likes of Invincible and Walking Dead.  In eight issues, we get guys getting limbs hacked off, hit by cars, shot in the testicles, shot through the head by way of the testicles, and far too many others to mention here.  I’m familiar with artist John Romita Jr., and I’ve never seen this kind of stuff come from him.  This doesn’t just feature gratuitous amounts of violence – it defines it.

But despite some twists and turns that are actually quite shocking, I didn’t come out of the first book thinking about the story.  I was thinking about all the twisted images I had witnessed in those eight issues.  If the movie does the comic justice, it will be a veritable bloodbath.  After all, that’s the main focus of the story.

So what do I think overall of Kick-Ass?  If you’re not squeamish about overly graphic comic book images, then give it a read.  It’s perfectly entertaining.  Just don’t expect it to live up to the lofty claim on the cover of its first issue.  And don’t expect it to have too many future installments either.

And it starts

Don’t say I wasn’t optimistic of the ability of Fantastic Four to stay on schedule. So sure, creators Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch weren’t exactly reknowned for their ability to put out Ultimates in a timely matter, but this is Fantastic Four! One of Marvel’s big books!

Okay, so I actually wasn’t too optimistic – so when I saw that issue #557 has slipped a week, I chuckled a bit. Let’s see how close of a schedule they can keep.

Other books I collect seem to be having some scheduling woes as well. Criminal has been pushed back from the end of April to the beginning of June (not its first slide), and I’m not even going to go into Giant Size Astonishing X-Men. It’s still solicited for May 28th. Let’s see if that happens.

What surprised me was that the Powers Encyclopedia seemed to have been pushed up a month, from July 5th to June 4th. Then I realized the July 5th date was 2007. Whoops.

Debut Issue


Kick-Ass #1

When I walked into the comic shop this week I had no intention of picking up a new book, even one with as snazzy a title as Kick-Ass. (I actually got two new books, this one and Ed Brubaker’s Criminal #1.) But it’s action packed cover and bold title caught my eye. When I saw that it was written by Mark Millar and drawn by John Romita Jr., I thought I’d give it a shot. Millar wrote some of my favorite stories including Civil War, Ultimates 1 & 2, and the amazing “Enemy of the State” arc in Wolverine. Romita Jr. has been a Marvel mainstay for years and always done quality work.

Kick-Ass is an Icon book, which is Marvel’s creator owned imprint. That means it doesn’t take place in the Marvel universe. In fact, it happens in a world not unlike our own. Kick-Ass asks a question: With all the crazies in the world why has there never been anyone to put on a costume and fight crime? In this book, Dave Lizewski does just that.

What’s so special about Dave Lizewski? Nothing at all. He’s a high school student. He loves comic books. Other than that, he’s a pretty nondescript guy, just sort of fading into the background of life. He decides to become a costumed hero not because he has any special ability or anyone to avenge, but just because he’s bored. He spends a few weeks in the gym then buys a wet suit and a ski mask and heads out to fight crime. He has no combat training, no name, and no idea what he’s getting himself into. Needless to say, it does not end well.

The main character doesn’t seem particularly smart or likable, but he’s the right kind of crazy to make you wonder what he’s going to do next. And when the first issue ends with the hero bleeding to death in the middle of the street after being stabbed in the chest and hit by a car, you have to wonder what issue two will bring. I’ll stick around for that, at least.