We Can Never Go Home #5 has several dramatic reversals and gut punching action sequences, but writers Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon never neglect the extremely different character arcs of Madison Munroe and Duncan Schmidt. In the words of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one is a rebel and the other is an idiot, and readers find out the definitive answer in this issue. Artists Josh Hood and Brian Level continue to excel at drawing angry 80s teens while using clever layout choices to make the action packed scenes more impactful and intimate. Colorist Tyler Boss punctuates his grainy, 80s VHS color palette with flashes of red for the gallons of blood spilled in this issue and white when Madison manifests her powers to make these panels stand out. We Can Never Go Home #5 has a riveting plot line, visceral art, and also shows the toxicity of the teenage male antihero while laying the foundation for a new kind of post punk rebel heroine (It is fitting that Siouxsie and the Banshees is on We Can Never Go Home’s official Spotify playlist.)
The Avengers clicked with both Marvel fans and general audiences because we loved watching these massive egos clash for the first time. It was the perfect blend of action and attitude, and its mastermind, Joss Whedon, was handed the golden ticket to Marvel’s keystone franchise. The long-awaited sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, shows the strain of trying to be bigger-and-better while still indulging the subtle pleasures of its predecessor. It succeeds, just barely, on the strength of a talented cast and our fondness for these characters. Still, it’s a decidedly somber affair that will turn off casual fans, and it stands as the most impersonal, and arguable weakest installment of Marvel’s vaunted “Phase Two.”
Unquestionably one of the principle elements that put fear into studio at the thought of financing Kick-Ass was the level of unfiltered violence featured throughout. Witnessing bullets ripping through flesh is nothing knew for anyone who has paid attention to recent action films, and experiencing the slicing and dicing of body limbs with a shiny sword should sound familiar to those who have seen the Kill Bill films, but it is the way the violence is handled at times in Kick-Ass that differentiates it from many other movies of the same ilk.
Kick-Ass 2 is a rare film, one that is so messy and unpleasant that it makes one wonder if its predecessor was actually any good. The cast has, mostly, returned, but director Matthew Vaughn has stepped back into the producer’s chair. Maybe that’s the issue, or maybe the graphic novel series on which this sequel is based is just too mean-spirited and nasty to make a satisfying transition to the big screen. Whatever the case, Kick-Ass 2 is a misguided, uncomfortable, cartoonish, and gratuitously violent affair that’s best ignored.