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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Along with Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar has been one of the key writers for Marvel Comics in the 21st century. After proving himself in the '90s as a talent to watch while writing for DC Comics and the UK comic 2000AD, his arrival to Marvel came at a time when Ultimate Spider-Man had just shot up the sales charts. It was in this environment that Millar made his first major contribution to Marvel with Ultimate X-Men, as Millar integrated forty years' worth of X-Men history, characters and lore into a solid two-year run, making the companion title to Ultimate Spider-Man every bit the creative and commercial success. Next up was The Ultimates, a new rendering of the Avengers that was to continue building on the success of the Ultimate line. He and artist Bryan Hitch pulled it all off in spades: The Ultimates and its sequel, Ultimates 2, were ensconced at the top of the sales charts every month; what's more, they were critical successes, as well. Meanwhile, Millar was invited to enter the regular Marvel Universe to take a stab at two of its most iconic characters: Spider-Man and Wolverine. Paired with industry heavyweights to draw his stories -- Terry Dodson on Marvel Knights Spider-Man and John Romita Jr. on Wolverine -- Millar brought the same fast-paced and cleverly constructed plots with which his Ultimate fans were already familiar. Amid building a small library of Millarworld indie comic books -- including the titles Chosen and Wanted, the latter of which was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie -- he managed to write Civil War, the epic seven-issue miniseries that definitively reshaped the landscape of Marvel's heroes. Kick-A**, a Marvel Icon project done in tandem with John Romita Jr., made an impressive impact on the sales chart before also being adapted for a major motion picture. In addition, Millar has reunited with Civil War artist Steve McNiven in both the pages of Wolverine and their creator-owned book Nemesis.
My goodness, no wonder there's a movie coming out. What Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. have done here simply calls for a cinematic adaptation, and I am salivating. If you've ever wondered what it'd be like if some fool - and an untrained kinda nerdy high school fool, at that - decides to don a superhero costume and prowl the slimy streets in search of mischief, this'll be an eye-popper.
John Hughes never dreamed of something like this in his high school flicks. The central figure is comic-book-reading 16-year-old Dave Lizewski who doesn't boast that tragic a past; no radioactive insects bit him; he wasn't exposed to a magic word; and he's not an orphan from an exploded planet. To quote Dave Lizewski, his origin is he was bored. But under Mark Millar's insanity, Dave's story takes on this dark, outrageous, ultra-violent turn while still staying somewhat in the periphery of what's realistic.
This trade collects the first eight issues and lets you into an urban bloodbath. Because when you put on a wet suit and start looking for trouble, odds are you're gonna end up bumping against some seriously hard mothereffers. And when your only super powers are perseverance and some talent for soaking up punishment, you'll most likely end up hitting the floor really hard. Dave gets severely pounded his first time going up against some thugs, and then he gets bowled over asss over heel by a hurtling car.
Months of recovery from his injuries, and you'd think Dave's learned his lesson. But then Dave puts on the costume again and resumes his night patrols. And then, while bracing some muggers, Dave becomes an overnight online sensation, the first real-life superhero. The Internet even gives him his superhero code name.Read more ›
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Well written, brisk pacing, fantastic art, fun twists, and great characters all combine to make this one of the best reads out there right now.
Is it shocking? Sure, but that's part of the fun of it! However, the "shock factor" is only one small part of what makes this book feel so fresh.
For me, Millar and JRJR kncoked this book out of the park. You can tell how much fun they're having telling their story, and I love being along for the ride.
If you're sensitive to violence or to underage kids using guns, swords, and adult language, this book may not be for you; but if you can appreciate it for what it is, you won't be disappointed. Don't worry -- it's nowhere near as "shocking" as many other comics out there such as Preacher or The Boys (or pretty much anything else Garth Ennis writes), but it certainly is edgy.
Overall, it's a surprisingly fresh and unique take on superheroes, geek culture, and adolescence, masterfully illustrated and perfectly paced.
If it's one thing Mark Millar (Wanted, Wolverine: Enemy of the State & Old Man Logan, Ultimates, Civil War) knows, it's how to shock the audience. The much anticipated, and much delayed, Kick-Ass does just that and more. Published under Marvel's Icon imprint, Kick-Ass reunites Millar with his Enemy of the State partner and Marvel artist mainstay John Romita Jr. (World War Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man), and once again finds Millar poking fun at the sort of comic book conventions he did with Wanted, although the results are not nearly as nihilistic. Dave Lizewski is a comic book obsessed teenager who decides to take his love for superheroes to a new level when he dons a green costume and decides to fight crime. Naturally, things don't work out quite so well for him at first, and eventually, he finds that he isn't alone in the superhero business as he encounters Hit Girl, Big Daddy, and Red Mist. That's really only scraping the surface of Kick-Ass, as Millar presents the humdrum and dreary existence of Dave with such dark comedic flair that it's hard not to admire the series as a whole. That, along with the great artwork by Romita, makes Kick-Ass all the better. Word of warning however, Kick-Ass is definitely not for the squeamish: it is ridiculously bloody, violent, and will be more than likely deemed offensive by some. With that in mind though, Kick-Ass should be checked out at the very least regardless, and if the upcoming film adaptation is half as good, there will be even more reason to celebrate.
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The film adaptation of the creator-owned, Marvel-published Kick-Ass, by writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr., just hit movie theaters around the U.S. Cue new collected edition of the book with "Now a Major Motion Picture!" emblazoned on the cover. And while many hardcore comic enthusiasts might find themselves reluctant to purchase these tie-ins, the Kick-Ass book is actually a very nice collection.
The "Premiere Hardcover" edition collects issues #1-8 of the comic, comprising the entirety of the first major story arc. Though its cover does include the aforementioned text, effectively outing purchasers as "fans after the release of the film," it opts for new artwork by Romita on the dust cover rather than movie poster images, which is a nice touch. One version features Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, weapons in hand, covered in blood. The other features a downtrodden Kick-Ass, sitting on his bed without his mask.
Aside from the black hardcover with yellow letters, and the collection of chapters 1-8, fans get two pages worth of bios of the comic's creators, a two-page spread of "Kick-Ass's Greatest Hits" (the most ultra-violent moments from the comics that comprise Book One), a few variant covers and a poster drawn by Romita of the characters in the movie versions of their costumes. It doesn't offer any behind-the-scenes in-depth features a la DC's Absolute editions, but it is a nice set at $24.99 to help fans get caught up with the series before or after seeing the movie.
For those unfamiliar, Kick-Ass's creators have dubbed it "The Greatest Superhero Comic of All Time." While this may be a bit of an overstatement, the book is quite entertaining. Kick-Ass tells the tale of Dave Lizewski, a comic-book nerd just like you or me.Read more ›