Mark Millar has pulled a master stroke with Kick-Ass 3, not because he’s dragging this post-modern superhero story out for another volume, but because he’s ending it. Millar’s almost alchemical ability to grab our low expectations of an over-tired genre and transmute them into something special is as impressive here as it was when he published the first book. While the two-volume Kick-Ass 2 felt like it might be going nowhere, this grande finalé brings a new perspective on the series. If the big problem with superhero comics is their protagonist’s literary invulnerability, Millar has solved it by giving Kick-Ass an ending.
With Hit-Girl incarcerated (and wreaking havoc amongst her fellow inmates), Kick-Ass’s plans to spring her are foiled by the boredom and cowardice of his superhero team. Meanwhile, one of the most disturbing of the local Mafia’s bosses has a plan to take over all the criminal gangs on the east coast.
Millar executes everything brilliantly. The story is tense and the dialogue is tight. There’s character development and empathy. And it focuses almost entirely on Millar’s two best creations – Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass himself.
John Romita Jr. has been the artist throughout this series and it’s totally paid off. He’s as familiar with his teen superheroes as we are with his depiction of them, and the story just rolls perfectly out from his art.
Kick-Ass fans might mourn the end of the line but it’s the best thing Millar could have done. Although reading the last book in a series is always tinged with a certain sadness, you know it means that Millar and Romita Jr. can move on to new and even greater things, and invent some more new comics to shock, surprise and delight us.