Mark Millar has written some of the most unforgiving and violently brutal comics out there. From the awesome Old Man Logan to the pop culture-infused Kick Ass, his books have a visceral edge to them. He was one of the weekly targets of internet outrage a while back due to his brutality. To prove his naysayers wrong, he began delving into other arenas and proved he didn’t need to depict immense violence in his story to make it dramatically potent. He’s largely succeeded. I like Millar’s work, and, sometimes, I even love it.
I picked up the first issue of Huck when it was first released. I knew he had written it as a sort of response to the darkening of Superman in recent films. I love it when art inspires art. It’s like this amazing conversation. I’ve liked the recent Superman films, and I was strangely skeptical coming into Huck.
Huck is a do-gooder to his core. He has a list of good deeds he sets out to accomplish each and every day. It doesn’t hurt that he has superpowers that would equal that of Superman’s. He just chooses to use his powers in private and to help people find things (for which he has a sixth sense-style knack). Until, of course, a neighbor sells him out to the press, setting off a chain of events that sends Huck on a path to discover who his mother is.
My first takeaway from the first issue 6 (or so) months ago was that Rafael Albuquerque’s art was magnificent, just beautiful work, and David McCaig’s colors captured a very innocent, Midwest lifestyle. It almost felt like Millar stepped back and said, “You guys tell my story.” To be honest, the first issue didn’t grab me in a way to make me read issue #2, but when I saw the trade was being released, I decided to give it a second chance, as my mind would occasionally wander back to that first issue. Something must have stuck…
I began with that bit of skepticism, but about halfway in I realized I was genuinely smiling from cheek to cheek. The comic never became sentimental but remained perfectly charming throughout. By the end, I found it rousing. I was applauding in my mind. Millar has written a wonderful yarn that simply lets a hero be a hero. While I think we need stories with anti-heroes, and sometimes we need to see our heroes become anti-heroes and even fail at being heroes, if only for a spell (If an icon can’t come back from some creative searching, then their myth probably wasn’t very strong to begin with.), sometimes, simply being a hero, someone that fights for what’s right no matter what and without question, is good for everyone and refreshing in the world today.