Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
I think this is an example of how you don’t have to like a comic book to appreciate that it is a good comic book.
At the end of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s Kick-Ass #1, Mark Millar talks about how fun the comic was for him. While obviously I cannot speak for the creative workings of the comic and how fun that was, I can say that I did not find this first issue fun at all. I found it kinda sad.
That said, I think it was still a well-written comic, with typically strong John Romita Jr. artwork.
The following pages (click to enlarge) give you a gist of the comic – it is a brutal look at what if ordinary people decided to become superheroes.
We also get a look at the background of the protagonist as he decides to become a hero.
I saw a quote somewhere where Millar wrote about how this title was specifically not a cynical comic book, and it had more warmth than a standard Millar comic, and it was all about a young man who just wants to do the right thing, no matter how much it may hurt him.
That sounds really cool to me. I just didn’t see that in this comic book. Besides a couple of nice scenes with David (our hero)’s father, I did not see any warmth in this comic. And David’s interest in being a superhero seemed to be born more out of curiosity than anything else. In addition, while David certainly did have somewhat of a personality, far too much of his characterization (in this issue, at least) seemed to be built around a string of pop culture references. You know, like “What do teenagers do nowadays?,” and throwing them all in. Hey, he mentioned downloading stuff! He watches porn on the internet!! I admire the intent, but I do not think it worked out all that well – the characterization did not seem deep enough.
Perhaps in later issues, however, it will be better.
But for this issue, it still seemed pretty cynical. We’re introduced first to a hero who dies because his wings don’t function correctly. The scenes you saw above “Get the fuck away from me, you loser. And quit staring at me in class. You’re giving me the creeps.” – that really doesn’t fit with what David says earlier, that he is just like everyone else. Millar has him say this, but then firmly ensconces him in the world of a “geek.”
Okay, enough complaining, in the end, I think this was still a good comic book.
First off, Romita’s art was excellent. He grounds the work, which is desperately needed for a comic like this. Also, his character expressions are just top rate.
Millar moves the story well, and the basic idea is a good one to follow, especially the ending, as the scene early on in the comic belies the ending – whatever happens at the end of the comic, we know that it is not the true end of the story, which is a nice bit by Millar, because otherwise, that ending would be close to pure hackery.
So yeah, I think this series has a lot of promise, especially knowing that Millar is into this idea in the longterm, and not just as a quick little thing (like Chosen), so there will be more optimism mixed in, along with more warmth. I look forward to it!
But this issue, I think was still strong enough to merit a recommendation, even if I didn’t really LIKE it all that much, as I found it way too cynical for my tastes.
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