Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Review by Evan Maroun
Just last week, fans got their hands on a brand new Kick-ass series, which somehow managed to feel both familiar and fresh with it’s smart introduction to a new hero, Patience Lee. This week, in Hit-Girl #1, Millar returns for round 2, but this time with the return of the unmistakable purple-haired bad-ass from the original series. Now, rather than share the spotlight with Dave Lizewski, Hit-girl gets her own series to splatter with red. But does the pint-sized hero have enough to carry this series by herself?
The premise of Hit-Girl #1 is a pretty simple one– Hit-girl goes to Columbia. So, why is she in Columbia of all places? Someone tasks Hit-girl with a mission of revenge, and well, vigilantes gotta eat too. The main obstacle that seems to confront Hit-Girl in this issue is loneliness. With both her Dad and Dave out of the picture now, She wants a new partner. Even she seems to know that her character works best alongside another. In a particularly funny scene, we see that training another person to take Dave’s place isn’t exactly working out and by the end of the issue, Hit-girl does find a new partner. With that, comes a problem.
[Highlight for Spoiler] Mindy recruits a notorious gang member named Mano, who was wanted for over a hundred killings, to help her on this mission. Hit-girl has always gone out of her way to kill criminals. So what makes this guy different and why should we care about him? Shouldn’t he be at the top of her list? It says something about Mindy’s character, as I figured she had some moral code. Unless she has a bigger plan lined up… but there wasn’t really anything to clue us in if she does. I just hope Millar has a few tricks up his sleeve for making this work. [End]
At times in the original series, Mindy had to really disguise her true self while trying to act like a normal kid doing day-to-day activities. It worked because while it definitely wasn’t a new concept to the genre, It served to ground her somewhat. Now here, Millar lets her loose and I think fans of the character might be mixed on that. Some will love it and I can understand the appeal, although, this also comes with a trade-off. Any relatability the character had is now a lot harder to find. Even if you squint.
With more over-the-top insanity in Hit-Girl #1 also comes a fitting new artist in the form of Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. I said in my last review that it was hard to imagine Kick-Ass without John Romita Jr. but after seeing this, I think I retract that statement. Ortiz brings a welcome manga-inspired style to the book and it wears it like a well-tailored suit. Psychotic and wild expressions play across faces with devilish indulgence, action panels feel electrifyingly kinetic, and the book absolutely benefits from this. Sunny Gho is also to thank, as he provides the colors here. I was particularly impressed with the lighting he paints across scenes, from a single light bulb in a new apartment to a TV shining brightly in the faces of a crime family– they really help to bring you into this new environment for the character.
Verdict: Wait and See.
In Hit-Girl #1 Ortiz and Gho bring the punky artwork to a character perfectly suited for it. However, as of right now, it’s hard to say if this book will have the depth to sustain a worthwhile on-going. Unless you’re going into this just to see thugs get eviscerated by blades or riddled with bullets, it may be worth waiting until the next issue where Millar may give us a better look at its narrative trajectory.