Mark Millar, writer of many popular comic book series (including Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman) is at it again. But with his new comic series, Huck, Millar tries to bring back a little hope into the mix. In an age where the darker and edgier your heroes are the better, Millar says “Huck is the antidote to the antihero.” Although he claims some partial responsibility in this overwhelming trend of darkness, the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for him was seeing Superman snap the neck of General Zod in Man of Steel. Huck is his response, and it never misses a beat.
Of course, it must be said that I read through the first issue entirely before I looked up any extraneous information on the book, but I probably could’ve told you as much without directly finding a quote from him. This book has the heart of a Superman comic, without the weight of a world on his shoulders. This one issue has more hope in it’s few pages and panels than any of the DC films released in the past decade combined.
And the freshest part of it all? Our protagonist, Huck, is mentally handicapped. He’s slow. He was left at an orphanage as a baby and he was raised with the notion that he must do one good deed each and every day. He’s been doing that ever since. Whether that means giving all his savings to help another, or waking up extra early just to take out the trash for the entire neighborhood, Huck’s selflessness oozes with love for his neighbors, and that is so refreshing.
The comic isn’t a pity party either. Huck is never shown with anything but a giant smile on his face. This is a character who is happy doing things for others. And the town he lives in, where he works at a gas station, is very reminiscent of the small town Smallville of Superman’s childhood. The difference is that the town knows full well of his generosity and his power. They keep it a secret from the rest of the world to protect him. He too is used to telling others to keep these acts of kindness between him and his recipients, and aside from that he isn’t much of a talker.
The clincher for the end of the first issue is a devastating one, if only for the context of what the character stands for. Since this is primarily just a heartfelt introduction for the character, this last bit is the only thing worth spoiling, but I’ll let you get around to checking it out yourself.
As origin stories go, this delivers just about all you could ask for. With a simple character like Huck, you don’t actually need to be told how he was gifted with his incredible speed and strength. You understand his motivation though. You get why the town loves him and considers him one of their own. The characters truest superpower is really his heart. He lives to do good. And it’s something we really need in comics these days.
Artist Rafael Albaquerque and colorist Dave McCaig bring this book to life in such a beautiful way. From the simple color grading that each page embraces, to the brightness of Huck shining through on each panel. Even in the darkest panels, Huck is portrayed in the light. And if not, the pages are lit by his smile. It really is a love letter to comic books, and every fan of the medium should pick this issue up.
Grab the Digital Comic here.
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