To say that this series has been amazing is a bit of an understatement as Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque have delivered four issues that honestly put everything else being published… to shame. There is a line of dialogue in this fourth issue that I so want to spoil for you. I can’t even tell you what I yelled out loud after reading it because that too might spoil it. The delivery and emotion all come from the team as a collective which again shows how amazing and once in a lifetime this collaboration is. The story starts off with a writing device that I hate. I hate it because it’s overdone and rarely done in the way it was meant to be used. The reason it works here is because Millar is just giving you a peak at a flashback rather than having the actual story lead to what the opening shows. That’s the device, the “look at the future of this very issue you’re holding in hand.”
We start off by seeing Huck’s mother escaping her Russian captors and it’s fantastic. The reason it works as the opening is that once we’re clear from there, Huck’s brother tells us all about the mom. As he talks, we see the mother again, but when he gets to the escape Millar jumps over the action of said escape. The reason being that if you told that part of the story as a character in the story you wouldn’t be believable. It’s a cheat of sorts, but it works because the opening tells us that everything about the mother will be revealed. And it is.
Huck and his brother Bob decide to head out and find their mother. Huck says that it’s not that simple and that he needs a name or a picture in order to find someone. Bob provides her full name and they get going. Discreetly. Well as discreetly as Huck can be as he is still Huck and he stops for every emergency he encounters along the way.
That is something that Millar has done incredibly well throughout this entire series. Kept Huck consistent. It’s very easy and typical for any story to present their character how they want them to be seen and then through the course of running them through the story they lose that character. A lot of writer’s pretend that this is just the “character’s journey”, but really it’s faulty writing. Millar even teases that with the previous issue when it looked like Huck had lost his way. Millar did in one issue what other creators do in twelve.
Huck has never been more excited than to find his mom, but he’s still himself and needs to help others. His core personality trait is putting others before himself and so there’s no surprise when he stops to help ducks cross the road. Instead you just smile and say, “that’s Huck.” Or as his bother says:
“You really are something special, you know that?”
“That’s why you’re special…”
I almost feel bad for Albuquerque. I mean the range of locations, people and things that he has to illustrate is just amazing. This series and in particular this issue, crosses the world. And he does it all in this comic book version of Norman Rockwell’s style. Hands down if he doesn’t win all or at least most of the top awards in the industry then we as a collective comic book whole are blind. Albuquerque is not only delivering his best work, but he’s delivering THE best work in the comic industry.
With that said you have to talk about the last two members of this collaboration. Dave McCaig makes Albuquerque’s art look beautiful. If you’re going to do muted and flat color tones, do it this way. I’ve read at least five comics this week that were attempting for the same style of coloring, but it’s nowhere as good as McCaig’s because his remains vibrant. Albuquerque may be illustrating in the Rockwell style, but McCaig is the one making it look 100% like it.
The unsung hero of this book is Nate Piekos of Blambot. Piekos is the letterer and designer of the series and I haven’t given him enough credit. Well it’s due. Piekos brings Millar’s words and Albuquerque’s art to life. He adds the voice and the dynamic to the words to match the artwork. The way he letterers yelling is perfect. It gives you the stern emotion behind the words without being comical looking. I’ve seen some yelling in comics that deflate the scene. If you don’t notice the lettering then I don’t blame you, when it’s done this well you should notice it, but it really is in command of your reading experience so be thankful that someone so talented it behind it.
Huck is a comic like no other. Frankly I don’t know or care if anyone else likes it because it’s their loss if they don’t. For me, this is the comic I run to read. This is the comic that reminds me why I love this medium and it’s the first book in the longest time to give me those butterflies in my stomach when I pick up the issue. Simply put, it’s the best goddamn comic out there.
Huck #4 Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Rafael Albuquerque Colorist: Dave McCaig Letterer & Design: Nate Piekos of Blambot Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/17/16 Format: Print/Digital