This is perhaps the last piece of my Kick-Ass puzzle, after reviews, previews, premieres and interviews this week HeyUGuys finally got a chance to pour over the source material for Matthew Vaughn’s incendiary film which opens in the UK today.

Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by John Romita Jr. Kick-Ass finds these two masters at the top of their game, and they have created something which every fan of the movie needs to read. It has within its two hundred pages a story of such violent velocity, with a narrative which diverges from the movie in a few crucial ways and is a reminder that even the superhero genre can undergo a reinvention every once in a while.

I’m a relatively new comic book fan, and my pre-Watchmen experience revolved around the Beano and Roy of the Rovers and the odd copy of 2000 AD slapping the front door mat on a Saturday morning, and though I’m fairly well versed in Moore’s work  I can’t claim any special knowledge for the tradition of Marvel and DC, merely watching as a number of high profile movies come and go endlessly.

Kick-Ass is different though, and reading the comics alongside the thorough Creating the Comic/Making the Movie tie-in provides a fascinating look at how Millar and Romita Jr. came to realise their story.

You’ll know the story and you may have already seen the film, but there is a joy in going back to the source and Kick-Ass the comic book is as funny, violent and subversive as its movie adaptation, with a harsher edge to some of the relationships and exists perfectly in its own right.

What was most interesting to me was the changes evident between the two, and I wont spoil it for you but there’s a difference in one couple’s fate which pinpoints the difference between the vision of Millar and Vaughn.

I dashed through the book in about a day, it’s a kinetic and brutal tale, told brilliantly by masters of the form, and if you’re a fan of comic books, or Kick-Ass as a movie, I can’t recommend this enough. Blood and guts fly with abandon, the characters are engaging and witty, and the superhero genre gets itself a fair kick in the ass. Like the movie, this is essential.

Kick-Ass is available from Titan Books.