Kick­ing and scream­ing!

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE - KALEON RA­HAN Kick Ass 2 #1 (of 6/Mar­vel-Icon/S$2.99) Loki #1 (of 4/Mar­vel/US$3.99)

Writer: Mark Mil­lar Artists: John Romita Jr and Tom Palmer

NOT since the an­nounce­ment of Star Wars Episode 1 have I been so anx­ious to catch a movie se­quel. The as­ton­ish­ing level of “comic-ism” by the Kick Ass movie im­pressed me. It def­i­nitely has my vote for this year’s best comic book movie and pos­si­bly movie as well (un­less Ip Man 2 changes my mind). As the Kick Ass se­quel is only sched­uled for 2012, some tem­po­rary kicks can be had in this six-parter, with this premier is­sue show­ing a lot of po­ten­tial (es­pe­cially with Nic Cage not ex­pected to make any cameos).

While Vol 1 fo­cused on Dave Lizewski’s quest in be­com­ing a hero (and to win the heart of fel­low class­mate – Katie Deauxma), the gloves are off now as Dave is al­ready a hero and he now needs to sur­vive the ex­pe­ri­ence!

In con­tin­u­ing where the movie left off, changes are aplenty in Dave’s life as he learns to fight (and not just rely on luck). He also never had Katie (un­like the movie’s de­vi­a­tion from the plot) and his dad is in a coma (a tale to be told in fu­ture is­sues). Only two things re­main un­changed – Dave’s voyeuris­tic ten­den­cies and the Kick Ass eu­pho­ria that is grad­u­ally in­flu­enc­ing more “self-made” he­roes.

What about Mindy McCready @ Hit Girl?

She was the ac­tual star of the movie but is now ... a pale shadow of her femme fatale per­sona. This re­sulted from a prom­ise made to her step-dad (Mar­cus) that she’ll dis­tance from crime fight­ing to pre­vent her mum from hav­ing a mental re­lapse. Ob­vi­ously, the with­drawal symp­toms are not only ev­i­dent in Mindy’s daily life but also Dave’s modus operandi. He now walks the street alone, some­times.

Nev­er­the­less, Dave’s hero­ics have in­spired a fair share of copy cats and some re­ally se­ri­ous char­ac­ters like Doc­tor Grav­ity.

While Doc­tor Grav­ity is cer­tainly not gifted like Mag­neto, the English ma­jor, who high­lights as a su­per­hero by night, has the re­sources and con­nec­tions to walk the heroic talk. His first “team up” with Kick Ass was a to­tal dis­as­ter as they were sim­ply out­num­bered by a gang of thugs but he makes it up by bring­ing Dave to his “se­cret hide­out” to meet the world’s great­est group (and it’s not the Bea­tles!).

Amidst all this con­fu­sion, Red Mist is missing-in­ac­tion – with the ex­cep­tion of some re­cap on his in­volve­ment in a “big show­down” at Times Square. Movie fans would re­call his “prom­ise” of con­tin­u­ing the fam­ily busi­ness and hints are dropped that he is very much on his quest of be­com­ing a mega­lo­ma­niac-type vil­lain. Any­way, Red Mist’s ab­sence is barely missed as there is all-round ac­tion and hu­mour in the plot and sub-plots.

On the cre­ative front, Mil­lar’s pen­chant for over-the-top sto­ries seem a lit­tle sub­dued here. That is prob­a­bly be­cause he is chan­nelling his en­thu­si­asm on Neme­sis and Su­pe­rior. Don’t get me wrong, the plot is still en­joy­able, but with Dave a lot bet­ter at de­fend­ing him­self as well as throw­ing a few of­fen­sive moves, the scenes of him on the re­ceiv­ing end don’t evoke much hu­mour or sym­pa­thy as they used to.

As for John Romita Jr, even with­out his fullfledged in­volve­ment (the man does the break­downs, while Tom Palmer fin­ishes and ink washes it), his pres­ence is still ev­i­dent and should be the sell­ing point for new­com­ers who have never watched the movie.

Over­all, the be­gin­ning to the se­quel was worth the wait and if the re­views and fo­rum talk can be counted on, this could be very much the The Em­pire Strikes Back tem­plate that we might have in the works. Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sa­casa Artist: Se­bas­tian Fi­u­mara and Michel Lacombe If Megamind has got you root­ing for the dark side, this four-parter should suit your taste buds. Af­ter Loki’s role in Siege, where he shared a huge blame for As­gard’s de­struc­tion, it comes to light that Thor’s step­brother does have some re­deem­ing points. Case in point, he was at the fore­front when Sur­tur in­vaded As­gard ( Thor #350-353) and in­di­rectly helped form the Avengers.

Hence, in Loki we have a com­plex and mis­un­der­stood char­ac­ter, which in many ways help brings out the hero in Thor. While the last Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic Loki mini-se­ries beau­ti­fully ad­dressed the “What If ?” sce­nario where Loki ruled As­gard, this new mini-se­ries tack­les the cause(s) be­hind the sib­ling ri­valry be­tween Odin’s sons. Since this is Loki’s rec­ol­lec­tion of the events re­sult­ing in the start of his eter­nal-long squab­ble with Thor, there is some logic al­beit in a twisted sense. While Thor may say “Nay!”, Loki at­tributes their feud to a prankgone-awry on the Lady Sif.

Ap­par­ently, Loki too had af­fec­tions to­wards Sif. His dis­taste­ful sense of hu­mour in­volved snip­ping her golden locks, which led to a host of re­deem­ing acts that re­sulted in the ul­ti­mate re­gret for him. While Esad Ribic’s ab­sence is a letdown, re­place­ment artists (Se­bas­tian and Michel) do de­liver, par­tic­u­larly in out­lin­ing a down-and-out Loki. The script may seem a bit com­plex at times, with flash­backs, hence a de­tour down Wikipedia would prove help­ful. Over­all, this se­ries of­fers the per­fect char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion build up for Loki in next year’s movie. n Comics cour­tesy of Earth 638 (Lot 2.13J, 2nd Floor, Atria Shop­ping Cen­tre, Jalan SS22/23, Da­mansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Se­lan­gor). Hot­line: 03-7729 6380. Email: (earth638@streamyx. com).

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