No good deed goes unpunished, Huck! For you — or for your family! You just HAD to be a big time hero, didn’t ya? Now look at what your grandstanding did. Proud of yourself now? Is it good?
Huck #4 (Image Comics)
Of course Huck’s heroism ACTUALLY comes from the purest place imaginable. Huck’s the kind of guy who will stop to protect some baby ducks while on the way to meet his mother for the first time. He’s so humble, he’s worried she’ll be disappointed in him, and he can’t realize that the nice, down home girl is sweet on him. Good thing his brother’s shown up to steer him straight.
Is It Good?
Reading Huck #4 is almost like buzzing through two separate issues in quick succession. The first half is a lot of exposition from Huck’s “brother,” without much room for the characters and scenery to breathe. Even the artwork of penciller Rafael Albuquerque and colorist Dave McCaig doesn’t really get to come out and play.
The latter portion of the book is where writer Mark Millar’s pacing and careful word choice take command once more and accelerate the reader’s emotions into a wall. We see Huck do-gooding his way to Vermont, and his mother dutifully waiting for him. As the meeting draws nearer, each panel and snippet of dialogue makes us clench a little harder, knowing all is not what it seems, until the final, climactic gut-punch. Huck finally sees the ugliest side of life.
Albuquerque and McCaig are unbridled again in the final scenes, showing Huck’s range from nervous to overjoyed. The final insult hits like a bomb blast going off, with an appropriately ruddy cloud of dust descending on the characters, a harsh contrast with the previous, optimistic yellows.
Huck #4 is the definition of uneven, especially when you consider how rock solid the book has been up to this point. The exposition in the beginning might be necessary, though, and the conclusion of the issue is about as thrilling as a family reunion can get. Still, it’s overall not as satisfying a read as the rest of the series. But with things looking to really hit the fan in #5 it’ll be interesting to see how the pace progresses and how Huck will react now that his back is against the wall for the first time.