I won’t lie, when I read the logline for Huck I thought it was a pretty average idea from Mark Millar. I mean, “What if the person you least expected had an amazing secret?” Isn’t that the bases of practically all superhero stories? Granted, Millar said as much about his inspiration for it. Then there’s the fact that I’ve been impressed by Millar’s first issues before. Just this year, Chrononauts’ first issue really impressed me. I’ve drifted away from Millar’s writing over the years, but I thought that was my return. It wasn’t. After the second issue it was same old, same old.
I absolutely loved Huck #1. LOVED IT. It’s one of the best issues I’ve read all year, but I’m incredibly scared that the second issue is going to burn me. That wouldn’t stop me from at least recommending and loving this first issue. If it all goes down from here, I would still cherish and enjoy this issue and feel that it’s one of the best things that Millar has written and shows just how incredible Rafael Albuquerque is. That’s an artist that continues to grow and change.
The story follows a small town guy that has a learning disability. He’s a little slow basically, but I didn’t really get the impression that he was stupid or even that slow. He was just quite. We see him jumping from cars and running at incredible speeds until he gets to the end of a cliff. He jumps off and dives into the water until he finds something. The something is a golden locket that he returns to the owner. She had pretty much assumed it was gone.
That’s when we begin learning about Huck through an older resident of the town as she explains the secret that they’re all charged with, don’t talk about Huck. Cue the origin, but it’s quickly done and not the focus of the story. After that we follow Huck as he sets out to do one good deed a day. Sometimes it’s simple. Sometimes it’s incredible.
People over at DC are always trying to figure out what the fuck to do with Superman to make him more relatable and not boring. Maybe they should have asked Millar because that’s all this is. It’s a Superman type character that has an average life. And it’s incredible. It’s so simple and yet just fantastic at the same time. The range of Huck’s deeds will put a smile on your face and remind you what a superhero is supposed to be. It’s not a glamourous person that saves the earth every week or stops crime lords. It’s someone that does the right thing no matter the cost. And not for a thank you. Not for a paycheck. Not because it’s cool. Because they just want to do good.
Huck is just incredible. If it manages to continue being this incredible it will be one of the most powerful works in comics in the years to come. I wish I could just slap that stamp on it now, but there’s too much story left and frankly the ending scares me. A lot. I didn’t love it. I wanted Millar to find a way to tell an interesting story and keep it simple like this first issue. Instead it goes a bit sensational, which could be great. But fuck, it would have been so much better if it stayed the course that the first issue follows. Again, no matter what, this first issue is just incredible and hopefully inspiring to other comic book writers, readers and artists.
Speaking of the artist, Albuquerque is amazing on this issue. I’ve enjoyed his work since American Vampire, but he’s grown so much since then. You really have to look for his style here because he changes it to match the story. He does for Huck, what Frank Quietly did for All-Star Superman. I probably don’t even need to say anything else after that bold statement, but I will go on.
There is an intentional Norman Rockwell feel to the art. The entire town feels like something out of the Sunday Evening Post. And it’s great. Much like with Rockwell’s artwork, you want to live in this town. You want to be a part of it. To breath the air. It feels that real, that inviting. The coloring is all kinds of complex. I don’t even really know how to describe it; it’s just really fucking good. Some of the best coloring of the year for sure.
I will be back for the second issue. It’s my hope that it will be as good if not better than this first issue. I’m just going to hope for that rather than be negative or look at the track record for second issues this year. If you read comic books and your serious about it. Meaning you read them for the art form and not just for superheroes, then check out Huck. I know, it’s superheroy, but Millar and Albuquerque are doing something incredibly different compared to the rest of the genre. It’s worth reading. It’s worth reading twice.
Huck #1 Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Rafael Albuquerque Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/18/15 Format: Print/Digital
Like Podcasts? Check out CBMFP's coverage of Huck #1