REVIEW: Hit Girl #5

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This is it! The Hit Girl mini-series finally comes to its bloody conclusion! Violence! Profanity! Needless exclamation marks! Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

Hit Girl_5_cover_2Hit Girl #5
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr., Tom Palmer
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Dean White
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Icon
Cover Price: $4.99

Previously in Hit Girl: Mindy MacCready a.k.a. Hit Girl has not been making things easy for Ralphie Genovese’s mob. Thinking it’s the work of straight cop Marcus, Mindy’s stepfather, he sends some goons to their house to teach him a lesson. Things probably aren’t going to end well for the goons.

THE HARDCORE BALE THAT CAN THROW A HEAVY LIGHT

“You’ve taken me from Christian Bale in The Machinist to the hardcore Bale that can throw a heavy light at a sound technician” says the Red Mist at the end of his ninja training. He then proceeds to get his ass kicked. It’s when Mark Millar writes like this that I enjoy him the most. Once you wade through the excessive “shocking” profanity and Über violence, you usually find a good story. Kick Ass was like this and the Hit Girl mini-series has, for the most part, been just as enjoyable. The wait was a long one (no real surprise) but it was worth it. Mostly.

Hit Girl of course wastes the hired goons with ease while her parents are passed out from the Rohypnol she slipped them. Broken legs, knifes to the groin and neck and a sledgehammer to the face consist of the various ways they are dispatched, all with accompanying profanity. It wouldn’t be a Hit Girl comic without it, would it? After talking to her dead father, she then proceeds to wipe out the whole mob IN ONE NIGHT. This includes breaking into a maximum-security prison and killing everyone on death row. It was this point that gave me pause. The Kick Ass universe is supposed to be a representation of what superheroes would be like in the real world. Even with all of her training it seems highly improbable that she would have the time or means to get all of this done, especially breaking into the prison. I understand she is supposed to be professionally trained to be a bad ass in all respects but this seems excessive. Then again, it is the Kick Ass universe so excess is a normal thing. Still, when you’re establishing a world and a premise it’s events like this that start to bend your story. Put in too many of them and the whole thing will break. Once I got past this and went along for the ride, I quite enjoyed the issue. The interaction between Mindy and Big Daddy was the highlight, showing the love between the two and proving that Hit Girl is just as insane as we know she is. Even the violence is fun (if you can stomach it) with Millar throwing in that demented humor he peppers his stories with. It’s easy to see why Hit Girl has become the stand out character in the Kick Ass world and this issue takes a sledgehammer and drives that point home.

I haven’t read Kick Ass 2 yet but this issue seems to set things up for that series quite well and it’s all exciting. The idea of more heroes emerging, as well as villains, and forming super-groups is a nice, natural progression for the story and I can’t wait to see it play out.
I find it surprising that this was put out after Kick Ass 2 as it takes away any tension and threat this story could have. We know Hit Girl is in the sequel, so why should we worry she might die? Ultimately, the reader’s enjoyment of this issue (and whole series, honestly) will depend on whether they’ve read Kick Ass 2. Being someone who hasn’t, this issue did a great job wrapping up the story and making me want to read what happens next.

MAN THAT’S A BIG HEAD

I’ve never really been a fan of John Romita Jr. That’s sure to put me on many a $h!t list I’m sure but it’s the truth. His work always appears rushed and lacking in details. This is just the nature of his style but it has never sat well with me. My favorite work of his has been on Kick Ass and that continues with Hit Girl. The credits list Romita as breakdowns and Tom Palmer on finishes, so I don’t know how much that attributes to my opinion. Detail here is well done and the ink washes that Palmer adds take away the “scratchy” look that Romita’s art has. Who’d have thought I’d enjoy looking at dismembered bodies so much? The biggest issue I have is with the design of Mindy herself. Her head is enormous! It is about 1/3 of her total height. As strange looking as it is, what really bothers me about it is how young it makes the character look. Mindy is twelve but this makes her appear six or seven at most. It’s jarring, especially when she’s drawn next to girls her age. Overall all, the art is good and some of Romita’s best work.

BOTTOM LINE: $4.99? WOW!

Hit Girl was a great mini-series and this was a great issue. Everything gets wrapped up and sets the stage for Kick Ass 2. Unfortunately, you enjoyment of it will hinge on whether you’ve read the sequel. All of Millar’s trademarks are on display so fans of vulgarity need not worry. Aside from a few design issues, the art’s well done and services the story. And here comes the but. But you’ll be shelling out $4.99 for this book. That’s a steep price point for a story that doesn’t seem much longer than any of the previous issues. In fact, much of the extra page count appears to be at the end, promoting “Millar World”, future projects and the feeding of Millar’s ego. Not only did we have to wait forever, but now are expected to shell out two more dollars for little extra content. It’s Marvel’s frustrating pricing at work, but that’s a discussion for somewhere else. Price aside, Hit Girl #5 was a fun read earning 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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