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Kick-Ass kicks ass
It's hard to say what I make of Kick-Ass. It's not a reconstruction, because there's little effort to portray superheroes as glamorous or cool. It's also dissimilar to most deconstructions I've seen, because while the danger and violence inherent in actual superheroics are presented in horrifying detail and the characters are shown to be massively disturbed, they still come across as upstanding individuals who genuinely want to fight the good fight and make the world a better place.

I guess that makes it an optimistic deconstruction. Kick-Ass shows with unflinching honesty what factors would genuinely lead someone to dress up in spandex and travel around fighting crime. Dave is beaten, bloodied, has his bones broken, and spends several months in a coma followed by several more on life support, plus gets some metal plates in his head, all in the first two issues. And this isn't the work of some alien wizard - it's just what happens when you take on the drug dealers and thugs who walk around Manhattan.

Despite this, the narrative does portray Dave, and the other heroes he meets, in an ultimately positive light. He's determined to do something good with his life and refuses to back down from criminals, even when his life is in real danger. This, then, is ultimately an inspiring message not the let the bad elements bring us down, but rather to stand up to them and in the process take control of our own lives.

Ultimately, a theme of hope and determination in spite of the realistic suckiness of the world, coupled with a strong dose of humour, makes Kick-Ass well worth picking up.

If you like this, you might also like:
  • Watchmen: The original superhero deconstruction, which still holds up as the pinnacle of comic writing 25 years later.
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