The sequel to the first "Kick-Ass" movie is coming up on release day, but in the comic book world, the third installment of the saga is just underway. "Kick-Ass 3" #2 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. is the latest in the final part of the "Kick-Ass" trilogy, and it's fair to say that Dave Lizewski is getting his life back on track -- or at least, he seems to think he is.
With Hit-Girl in jail, Dave has taken it upon himself to assume leadership of Justice Forever until such time that they can rescue her. His plan to take down the local mob bosses at the same time are noble, though ultimately flawed, given that he's quite literally taking inspiration from the pages of Batman. The entry of an unexpectedly kind stranger introduces some tension into Dave's solo adventuring (what's her real motive?) but at least he's alive and free, which is more than can be said for some of his collaborators.
The real meat of the issue is actually given to Chris and Angie Genovese (aka Red Mist and his mother) as the pair find themselves targeted by Rocco Genovese, their mafia boss relative who threatens to make their lives even more miserable. There are some unexpected twists, and Millar delivers them in "Kick-Ass" trademark style, offsetting some moments of Machiavellian plotting with the mundanity of Chris whining about his life. It's both wryly-observed and laugh-out-loud funny.
If the issue suffers from anything, it's the lack of Hit-Girl. Her absence is logical and reasonable, but that doesn't change the fact that her "Polly Pocket meets John Rambo" attitude is sorely missed. Other than that, it's hard to criticize. The tone of the series is well-established, and its groove nicely settled into.
Indeed, Millar and Romita make it look effortless, which is a testament to how much effort they must put in. Romita especially seems to be having fun with Kick-Ass in a way that never comes across in his Marvel work, fantastic though that is. Creator-owned superheroes are always a gamble in a market dominated by Marvel and DC, and yet seeing two artists choosing to work on their own ideas within the genre -- and succeeding -- presents a fine example to the creators of tomorrow.