(Titan Books)

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THERE was nothing like the upbeat ending of the Kick-Ass movie in the original graphic novel, with teen superhero wannabe Dave Lizewski ending up without the girl and rocket-pack seen in the film, instead finding himself sworn to retire his costumed identity and return to a normal way of life by his desperate father.

But while Kick-Ass receives secret training from his 11-year-old psychotic sidekick Hit Girl, other costumed crusaders are appearing across the city inspired by his actions, and his arch-enemy Red Mist is planning brutal, bloody vengeance…

If you thought the original Kick-Ass was extremely violent, blackly comic and full of more creative swearing than a whole series of The Thick Of It, then this sequel ups all the stakes by 100 per cent.

Writer Mark Millar hasn’t let the success of the first volume distract him from the simple concept of actual real-life superheroes fighting crime without the benefit of incredible powers, and together with acclaimed artist John Romita Jr, keeps the story grounded in our own world, all the while mixing extreme violence with a great deal of dark humour.

Some of the sequences are so shocking and twisted you’ll be left open-mouthed at the creative team’s audacity in showing them on the printed page, and the fast-paced, naturalistic dialogue ensures you never lose sight of the fact that these are normal people who have taken the extraordinary decision to dress up in coloured costumes and adopt elaborate nom de guerres in order to wage a battle with similarly-garbed adversaries.

Nobody gets out of this story unscathed by events, and it’s reassuring to know that a final, concluding instalment in the Kick-Ass saga is planned for the future, as well as a Hit Girl spin-off set in between the first two books.

An unmissable read.

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