Review: Huck #6

Huck_06-1In the final issue of Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque’s feel good Americana-meets-Cold War era mad scientists tale Huck, there is plenty of punching and hugging as Huck and his mom fight the cyborg creations of Professor Orlov and try to make it back home. The plot sounds like the plot of a cheesy mid-1980s movie, but Millar makes sure the story doesn’t get too dragged down in spycraft and science fiction as he and Albuquerque focus on how Huck is still a good person even though he was originally created to be a bloodhound for a Soviet Union. Albuquerque’s art shows the larger than life nature of both Huck and his mom’s in a riveting hand to hand fight scene ending in a Superman-worthy feat of strength while he and colorist Dave McCaig set Huck #6 apart from most end of arc superhero stories with a beautiful epilogue showing Huck’s return to doing daily good deeds. It’s safe to say that he has a lot to catch up on after last issue’s backstory explosion.

Huck #6 is an example of Rafael Albuquerque’s versatility as an artist. His heavy inked style can work for horror stories like American Vampire along with science fiction stories like and a genre “Venn Diagram” comic like Huck. (Not to mention his less heavy inks on Blue Beetle  back in the mid-2000s.) Albuquerque’s art is close to painting in this comic, but with much more motion and articulation. You can feel the strength behind each punch that Huck throws, and McCaig pours on a conflagration of orange and yellows to show the inhuman beams that Huck’s “brother” pelts him with. But the amount of punishment that Huck takes adds to the feeling of catharsis when he and his mom get the upper hand against their attackers as Albuquerque shows his face wrinkle in anger before cutting to him grabbing his opponent’s fist. Huck is the actual, nicest guy on Earth, but when you mess with his mom, it’s going to be trouble.

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Millar and Albuquerque making Orlov’s goons robots reminds me a lot of the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Justice League cartoons in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the writers and animators would make the bad guys robots to let high powered characters, like Wolverine or Superman, get to let loose without killing. And this is what Huck and his mom do throughout the issue finding the better way to defeat their enemies without going Punisher or Zod neck snap on them. The way that they eventually deal with Orlov is a quite clever use of Huck’s mother’s abilities as she has the more subtle power of persuading people by touching them versus Huck’s feats of strength and tracking ability.

But honestly, the best part of Huck #6 isn’t the final showdown between the heroes and villains even though Albuquerque zooming out and using an entire page to show Huck throwing a lamp post down a crowded highway is pretty spectacular or its cryptic final page cliffhanger. No, what makes Huck a solid comic is its inspirational protagonist, who doesn’t just make speeches about helping people, but does it without pomp and circumstance even though he does have a bit of media attention after one of his neighbors leaked the news about his powers. And the final pages of the issue is Huck just helping people out in various ways between panels of his smiling face and honest eyes. (McCaig gives them a beautiful shade of blue.) It’s a sweet conclusion without being saccharine and a wonderful bookend to his actions in Huck #1.

Huck #6 boasts rich, textured art and colors from Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig and will probably make you smile. (Unless you’re an incurable cynic.) It is up there with Starlight as Mark Millar’s best work in his post-Marvel era, and I look forward to the day it’s made into a film starring Channing Tatum.

Story: Mark Millar Art: Rafael Albuquerque Colors: Dave McCaig Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 7.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for reivew