The graphic novel and the movie may have been titled Kick-Ass, but it was eleven year old assassin Hit-Girl who stole the show in both cases. That may not have exactly been the plan, but never let it be said that Mark Millar is slow to adapt, and he wrote this Hit-Girl solo before Kick-Ass 2 hit the shelves.

That it might have been a rush project doesn’t show in the writing, but there’s a slight change in the art, with Tom Palmer finishing from John Romita Jr’s pencilled layouts rather than just inking. It’s slightly different, but equally good.

Despite the heavy doses of graphic violence, Kick Ass was characterised by charm and humour largely absent from its sequel, but this delivers the full dose. Hit Girl, or Mindy as she’s now supposed to be, has been returned to the care of her mother, on medication, and step-father, a serving policeman. Having promised him she’d dispense with her previous activities, she devises

a novel method of ensuring she’ll be able to leave at night to continue her war. An example of Milar’s good plotting, though, is that it’s not just a throwaway joke, and serves a larger purpose in the final chapter. There her disrupting the operations of the Genovese gang comes home to roost in literal fashion.

That ending sequence is a hilarious montage of total excess, a more realistic Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, the Punisher at Christmas. Contrasting that are the earlier scenes of the girl who’ll happily run amok with a sledgehammer having difficulty in devising an alternative solution to cope with the bitching and snobbery of her new classmates.

The final pages are the set-up for Kick-Ass 2, where all of a sudden things aren’t so funny any more.