Hit-Girl’s plan to bring murder and mayhem to the city of angels hits an unexpected obstacle in part two of The Golden Rage of Hollywood. Writer Kevin Smith and artist Pernille Ørum follow up their ultra violent first issue with a more emotionally impactful installment that sets the stage for a bigger bloodbath still to come.
Mindy McCready has arrived in Los Angeles, and her first order of business is casing the studio lot where the movie, Heretofore Hit-Girl, is being made. Her anger and anxiety mounts as she witnesses the Hollywoodization of her life story and comes face to face with Juniper Florence, the actress playing her in the movie. But Mindy’s real target is sleazy studio executive Lew Brothsteen, who, as it turns out, has some vicious inclinations of his own.
I’m proud to say that Kevin Smith is my personal hero. I’ve loved him and his work ever since the day, nearly two decades ago, that I watched Mallrats for the first time in the basement of my suburban New Jersey home. I won’t list all of my super fan bona fides, but, suffice it to say that last year I included a not-at-all subtle reference to Clerks in my own comic. Despite that, I assure you that I remain impartial in my review, and I can equitably state that I’m really enjoying Hit-Girl Season Two.
In a January 2019 interview with Dazed, Smith admitted that his run on Hit-Girl borrows from his 2001 film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, wherein everyone’s favorite convenience store loiterers hit the road to stop production on a movie based on their lives. But aside from the premise, and a quick cameo in the background of Mindy’s studio tour, the similarities end there. The comic is not about Hit-Girl settling a personal score. True to the anti-hero genre, Smith holds up a mirror to contemporary society and makes villains out of the wicked and hurtful people we see in real life. Then, Hit-Girl enters and does what we all can’t: eviscerate the bad guys with a smile on her face.
The famously loquacious Smith paid tribute to silent films in the previous issue by using only one line of dialogue, but he returns to form in issue two. Mindy experiences a range of emotions during her studio tour, but, most of the time, she’s pissed. She sneers at the Hollywood douche bags making her movie, confined to cutting them down with curt, profanity filled inner monologue instead of her usual weapons of choice. I was surprised that there weren’t more pop culture references, which is also a hallmark of Smith’s style, but the ones that he does include work incredibly well. Just like his seminal runs on Daredevil, Batman, and Green Arrow, Smith celebrates and shows reverence for the character by drawing from their history. Mindy’s past coming back to haunt her is an important story point, and the descriptions of future issues follow suit by promising the return of some old foes.
Hit-Girl is the first collaboration between this writer and artist duo, and even though her work is the artistic keystone of the new DC Super Hero Girls show, this is Ørum’s first comic. The uniquely bright energy she brings to this thematically dark story underscores that time-honored anti-hero conundrum: Should we really be enjoying this killing as much as we are? And, of course, her character design is impeccable. Hit-Girl’s big eyes and expressive looks (both trademarks of Ørum’s style) amplify this emotionally charged issue, especially when Mindy is forced to relive a gruesome scene from her origin story while visiting the set of Heretofore Hit-Girl. My one (extremely minor) grievance is that, with the exception of a few intense moments, the halftone dots motif she established in issue one was absent in issue two. As a fan of that particular technique, I was sad to see her lean away from it.
Compared to the carnage of issue one, issue two was noticeably more reserved but well worth the read. The ending sets up an intriguing problem for Hit-Girl to contend with in the latter half of Smith and Ørum’s run. It left me wanting more snappy dialogue, stylized violence, and Hollywood havoc.
Creative Team: Kevin Smith (writer), Pernille Ørum (artist), Francesco Francavilla (cover)
Publisher: Image Comics
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