The new Kick-Ass Patience Lee is no longer the new girl on the block - she's the new girl who owns the block. After toppling crimelord Hoops Locero in creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s recently concluded "New Girl" arc of Kick-Ass, Patience has taken over Hoops' empire and is going from control to conquer.
In this week's Kick-Ass #7 from the new creative team of writer Steve Niles and artist Marcelo Frusin, Patience's amassing army in New Mexico will be beset by a competing crimelord as well as a scarred archnemesis from Patience's past.
Newsarama spoke with Niles and Frusin about their upcoming arc, continuing Patience's journey, and picking up from Millar and Romita.
Newsarama: How would you describe this new Kick-Ass, Patience?
Steve Niles: First and foremost she is a mother. She is also a veteran and not someone to mess with. I really like finding the balance between family and this crime war she is fighting. Part of her really loves being Kick-Ass but as we delve more and more into the story, she finds she’s at odds with herself. Is she a criminal or a hero? I love these kinds of stories. It’s really fun to write, and I think interesting to explore a person at war with themselves, as well as the criminals she is trying to eliminate and control.
Marcelo Frusin: Patience is a tormented woman, who is dedicated to her ideals and her family - none of her time is used for her own happiness. When she wears her Kick-Ass suit, she is a trained soldier who exterminates villains, then changes into her waitress uniform, and in the mornings and evenings is a hardworking mother who lovingly maintains and cares for her children. Her personality changes along with her costumes. All the time she suffers, trying to exist in these different worlds.
Nrama: So you're picking up Mark Millar's "The New Girl" storyline with Kick-Ass having her own army. What's going on?
Niles: She’s learning that with every fight, she’s accumulating bad guys willing to fight alongside her. She’s changing the odds, maybe these guys aren’t knowingly on the ‘good’ side, but they’re taking down each crime boss and moving up the ranks with her. So, she’s got quite an army as she hones in on Santos.
Nrama: But coming after her are Hector Santos and Violencia. What interests you about those two characters?
Niles: Santos is the top crime boss, and he’s now not only aware of Kick-Ass, he’s having to find a way to take her down.
Frusin: Héctor Santos is a ruthless and manipulative leader, cruel and cold with his own men - he only takes care of his business, and does not hesitate to kill whoever challenges them.
Niles: He’s one of those power-hungry bosses, only bent on eradicating anyone who might try to stand up to him. Guys like that really have nothing to lose, except everything, if you think about it - and that makes him really fun to fight.
Frusin: Violencia is a man who only wants revenge, he has been training and surviving in jail with the only desire to kill Patience - the woman who deformed his face and sent him to prison. Nothing in this world can distract him from his goal.
Niles: Violencia is a fighting machine. He’s pretty much as close to a monster that we have in this series, and I’m loving playing with that.
Nrama: Steve, how did you come to be involved with Kick-Ass?
Niles: I’ve known Mark for years, we’re old friends and I’ve always loved his work. A while back, after his Netflix deal, Mark approached me about doing a couple runs on Kick-Ass. I didn’t even have to think about it. I thought it would be a good challenge for me as a writer. I’m primarily known for writing horror - my fights are usually all around monsters using supernatural strengths and powers to beat each other with. For Kick-Ass, I’m writing about real people, keeping the fights in this world, as it were. It’s been great to work with this and see what I could do.
Nrama: Was Marcelo Frusin already in the picture, or someone you had a hand in joining you on this?
Niles: I wish I could take credit for this brilliant decision but it was all Mark and Rachael Fulton. They came to me with Marcelo and I thought he was the perfect choice. Turns out they were right.
Frusin: Mark got in touch with me to work on some of his characters, we talked about several options, and finally he asked me to take care of Kick-Ass. I was delighted to accept the offer!
Niles: The artwork is fantastic. He has this great sense of shadow and light that brings a depth to the story.
Nrama: Marcelo, you're not only picking up the storyline, but following in the footsteps of John Romita Jr. You have a defined style of your own, but did you take any notes from what JRJR has done to incorporate into your work here?
Frusin: Yes, I worked with Rachael, my editor, to keep the continuity of the characters and the story. I have paid close attention to the previous issues that John has drawn, and we have taken care that everything makes sense with the first volume.
Nrama: How many issues do you have planned for your run on this? You mentioned Mark approached you for “a couple runs,” as in plural…
Niles: This arc is six issues, we’ll see where it goes after that. I’m having a blast writing it!
Nrama: What are your big goals for this?
Niles: I don’t really have big goals, other than hoping that Marcelo and I do Mark’s creations justice. It would make me happy and relieved to find that readers love our contributions to the story, and we’ll see where we go from there.
Frusin: I hope that the readers and the authors of Kick-Ass are happy with what I do with their character. I'm working on it with enthusiasm, and I hope that will be seen in the final book.