Mark Millar’s Huck has bounded through his final adventure in Huck #6, at least until the inevitable film is produced–a group called Studio 8 acquired the rights to do so before the first issue ever hit the stands. Is it good?
Huck #6 (Image Comics)
Huck finally gets to cut loose on some Soviet-era goons and show his more aggressive side. But don’t worry, how he gets there shows just how special he is. Everything falls into place as we see how Professor Orlov gave his subjects/breeders just the wrong powers if he wanted this all to work out for him in the end. Huck and his mom make sure that the bad doctor will never be seen again, unless you’re paying 10,000 rubles for a litre of semi-unleaded, comrade.
Is It Good?
And that’s one of the problems with Huck #6. There’s a lot of coincidence here–from Huck’s powers themselves, to how they interact with his mother’s powers, to the way Orlov runs away and how our heroes finally save the day. It’s all a little hard to swallow, but maybe in a feel-good story like this, one can suspend disbelief a little more and just enjoy the ride.
The ride isn’t quite as visually appealing as in previous issues, though. Dave McCaig’s color schemes don’t seem as inspired as before, but maybe that’s just because we’ve hit issue #6 in an unbroken run. Rafael Albuquerque’s panel layouts don’t deviate much throughout the book, making the final scenes less interesting than they should be (though there are plenty of smiles). There is some great sequential storytelling in the beginning of the issue, showing in a cinematic way how the female Commie-bot puts her strength to good use.
And there’s the other major problem in Huck #6, although it may not be a problem for everyone. This issue is so ready for the silver screen, you can almost hear the score in the background as Huck utters through gritted teeth the line featured in the final trailer. I have to reiterate–Huck #6 is a fine piece of writing, no bones about it. But to a comics reader, it may seem more like a tidied-up storyboard than what we’ve come to expect from this unique medium.
In that sense, could Huck #6 actually be a triumph; a post-comic comic? There’s a funny bit of commentary here on the blue boy scout Huck’s been compared to, and how he recently flubbed on film a similar test to the one Huck faces here. Huck comes out the other side of his ordeal more or less unchanged, unlike the the 21st century comics industry itself, many of its long-standing characters, and certainly more so than any other protagonist in a Mark Millar story. So if nothing else, Huck #6 is a post-Millar comic.
Huck #6 is like the climax of a movie adapted to a comic book series. It’s pop media in reverse! If you can get past that head-trip, there’s still a good story here, with likeable characters(!) and truth and justice triumphing in the end; a deconstruction of the modern meta that totally goes against type for Mark Millar. So all at once it’s neat, tidy, expected, and completely incongruous. It’s making a statement while hedging its bets. Huck #6 is a unique animal in the year 2016, but it might be one a lot of comics readers aren’t hunting for.