In the last issue, Hit-Girl's revenge-fueled rampage ended before it could even start. Now, she's on the run with a bullet in her leg and being framed for a crime she didn't get a chance to commit. Meanwhile, news of Hit-Girl's reappearance reaches some of her old adversaries on both sides of the law. And, in the final pages, Hit-Girl comes face to face with the Dick-Taker and the Super Agent, Hollywood's newest eviscerating avengers.
This chapter of "The Golden Rage of Hollywood" is mostly expositional. Hit-Girl regroups, criminals conspire, and the identities of the new masked vigilantes are revealed. But, the pause in action gives Smith the opportunity to showcase his trademark wit and pop culture acuity. He dishes out a couple of familiar movie quotes for the uninitiated reader, but for dyed-in-the-wool Kevin Smith fans like me, he slips in a number of lighthearted nods to his own movies and podcasts (specifically an episode of Hollywood Babble-On where Smith's co-host Ralph Garman shared some titillating trivia about the city of Columbus, OH). And, if that wasn't enough, he effectively inserts himself into the Kick Ass extended universe by having a character watch one of his movies on TV.
But I don't want to mislead you into dismissing this installment as a fan scavenger hunt with a hodgepodge of movie references. It's not. Just like he did during his acclaimed runs on Daredevil, Batman, and Green Arrow, Smith has deliberately raised the stakes in the story by reaching into Hit-Girl's history and digging up old dirt. Issue three ends with a tidal wave of enemies, both new and old, about to break over Hit-Girl's unsuspecting head.
Ørum's refined artistic style continues to impress. Since this is a conversation driven issue, her boundlessly fun character design is on full display. She makes this anti-hero story feel like a Disney movie where people drop f-bombs instead of breaking into song. And, she's proven the unparalleled master of the confident and adorable smirk, which she and Smith use several times to great effect. It's also worth pointing out the covers of Francesco Francavilla inspired by classic Hollywood one-sheets. His pulp aesthetic is unlike Ørum's interiors, but the dark, retro style is right at home with this storyline.
Next month, "The Golden Rage of Hollywood" concludes in a double-sized finale. I'm excitedly hoping that all the tension Smith and Ørum built up in this issue will erupt into an orgy of violence, profanity, and (of course) pop culture references.
Creative Team: Kevin Smith (writer), Pernille Ørum (artist), Sunny Gho (colors), Clem Robins (letters), Francesco Francavilla (cover)
Publisher: Image Comics
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