I know I’m coming late to the Huck party from Image Comics, but I wanted to get my thoughts in before the sixth issue comes out this Wednesday, April 20. It’s the conclusion to the current miniseries, but I hope it’s not the last we see of Huck. (Check out the Rich Reviews for this same issue at this link!)
It’s frustrating to be a Superman fan these days. The Man of Steel used to be a top seller, and was so for decades. In fact, I remember reading back in the early 1960s that he sold over 1 million copies of his comic each month. Curt Swan drew him for years as well, and they were consistently great stories, often with a sci-fi bend to them.
DC has announced with the new Rebirth initiative that there are going to be several Superman-family comics coming out, including a Luthor-based Action Comics, Superman, The Super-Man, Superwoman and Supergirl, that last one based on the CBS live-action show. I have to say, though, that the Superman: American Alien miniseries from Max Landis has been some terrific super-storytelling, sometimes the best I’ve read in years!
However, some of the best Superman has been taking place with characters based on him, but who don’t wear the cape and tights. Mark Waid’s Irredeemable was a great one, and now Mark Millar has put out the Huck book, which has a lot of similarities to the Superman legend, but also significant differences.
Here’s the description for Huck #5, which came out in March: “An old grudge leads to deadly threats against Huck and those he holds dear.”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Millar has explored Superman. The Kick-Ass creator created Superman: Red Son back in 2003, not to mention other Superman stories for DC. He also did Superior from Marvel’s Icon line, which took interesting liberties with the Man of Steel’s character as well.
Now he’s created Huck with Rafael Albuquerque for Image Comics, and it’s quite the gripping tale. Like Clark Kent, Huck doesn’t seek the spotlight, but he does like to do good. As the story begins, the people who reside in the town where Huck lives and works at a gas station love him and what he does, and try to protect him from a woman news reporter (a la Lois Lane) who spills the beans on the kindhearted guy who is considered “slow” by some around him.
When his existence is revealed to the world, a man who identifies himself as his brother comes to Huck and wants the two of them to seek out their mother who was a captive in the Soviet Union. There’s a big twist when they find her, and it all ends up with Huck and his mother being taken to Science City #33 in Russia for experimentation.
The two are held captive until Huck convinces his mother to tell him he can break out of their supposedly impervious glass cage. The issue concludes by setting up a big confrontation and getting us ready for the sixth issue out on Wednesday. The description for that book is: “Huck and Orlov’s final showdown.”
Honestly, it’s a twist on the Superman legend that I am really enjoying. It was my brother who recommended the comic to me after he was told to check into it by the folks at Big Planet Comics in College Park, Maryland, a store I used to frequent when I lived in that area.
There’s a lot of strong characterization taking place, including Huck’s personality and that of his mother. Huck’s perceived slowness lowers expectations for his ability to figure the way out of traps such as the one in this issue, but it feels like witty writing to me.
Albuquerque’s art is strong, and it has been so during the entire miniseries. His action sequences sparkle, and he portrays the range of emotion with great subtlety. Great work!
Below you’ll see the cover for issue #5 as well as the one for issue #6. If you haven’t been reading this series, you can catch up with a trade paperback scheduled for release on July 20. If you can find back issues at your local comics store or buy them digitally, I highly recommend them!