Comic Reviews: Hit-Girl and Before Watchmen: Nite Owl!
Hit-Girl #1 (0f 6)
Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s pint-sized assassin is back in her own mini-series! Hit Girl focuses on the time period between the first two volumes of Kick-Ass (something I wish I didn’t have to look up after reading it), and is a much better introductory issue than last year’s first chapter of Kick-Ass 2.
The bitchy popular girls in school are constantly torturing Mindy McCready, now trying to adjust to life as an ordinary middle-schooler. For a girl who’s grown up learning how to slice throats instead of find common denominators, this proves an interesting challenge for Hit Girl: how does she deal with a situation where she can’t kill her way out of it? Easy: get Kick-Ass, and offer him super-hero training in exchange for “surviving middle school” training.
It’s this conundrum that motivates this issue, and it’s an interesting hook for Mark Millar to focus on. It’s clear that Millar loves this character, and has a blast writing her. There’s plenty of great moments in this issue, but perhaps my favorite is the somber scene with Mindy at her father’ grave. It’s here that she admits that she can’t deal with her peers at school, and is one of Millar’s best-written scenes. Stripping away the knives, guns, and mask, it shows Mindy McCready in a very relatable light: a little girl who just can’t fit in.
John Romita provides the breakdowns for this issue, with Tom Palmer finishing up the art. The book has the same ink washed and water color effect that Kick Ass 2 had, and I can honestly say I don’t think it works best with Romita’s style. Regardless, his work here is better than any of his recent Marvel stuff, even if it’s still not up to par of the original Kick Ass.
Hit-Girl is (so far) a great addition to the Kick Ass universe that Millar and Romita, Jr. are building, and actually feels more like a direct sequel than last year’s Kick Ass 2 was. I’m not entirely sold on the idea that Hit Girl was intended to take place in between the two volumes of Kick Ass, but I’m glad the book is as good as it is. This is definitely a title I’ll be keeping my eyes on.
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 (of 4)
Ah, Nite Owl. Arguably the most underrated of the Watchmen characters, Dan Dreiberg never really gets the chance to shine in Alan Moore’s classic. Sure, he ends up with Silke Spectre in the end, but for much of the book he’s kind of a sad sack, until he gets back into the super hero game by the end of the story. A large chunk of his back-story is explained in his Before Watchmen title, but I feel like a lot of the important parts are glossed over, making this almost a Spark Notes version of Nite Owl’s origin.
This wouldn’t be a problem if we ended the issue on a good cliffhanger, but we don’t’. Instead, we’re lead up the doomed first meeting of “The Crimebusters”, and we get Nite Owl’s perception on the events. Seeing Dan Dreiberg meet Hollis Mason for the first time is a very excellent scene, but the things that interested me was his training. I guess J. Michael Straczynski doesn’t share my thoughts, as this is glossed over in the issue. Same with Nite Owl’s first encounter (and subsequent adventures) with Rorschach, which is shown to us in a big splash page. At least that art by Andy and Joe Kubert makes up for some of these shortcomings. The Before Watchmen titles have been strong up until now; hopefully the following issue of Nite Owl’s adventures turns this ship around.