Review: John Wick #1

When a young John Wick emerges from prison and embarks upon his first, epic vendetta, he comes up against a strange, powerful community of assassins and must learn how to master the Book of Rules that guides their lethal business. What are the Three Bills? Who is Calamity? And who was John Wick before he became the Baba Yaga?

John Wick #1 is the origin story of the title character played by Keanu Reeves in two films. Written by Greg Pak the story hits the right notes and pacing we’ve come to expect from the films giving us a glimpse into the early life of the mysterious character. Though there’s no dog here, the first arc is still a revenge story as John seeks out to kill individuals who attempted to kill him when he was much younger.

There’s nothing that’s amazing about the story, but Pak delivers what you’d expect. He has the character down well with his minimal dialogue and preference for action. The pacing and build up of the story follows that of the films.

Where things are good and bad is the art by Giovanni Valletta. The movies are defined by their action sequences which flow like dances. Valletta does what he can on the printed page but something is lost in the medium. Part of the issue is that Valletta sticks with a panel layout with just changing up those panel amounts and sizes. There’s no breaking the wall or some of the more dynamic imagery which would help mimic the visuals of the film (which in no way could be repeated fully). The art looks like the characters and the action is decent but it doesn’t take it to the next level that’s needed.

The issue is a good one that makes me want to come back for the second. I love the two films and to see more of Wick in a different way where different aspects can be explored is appreciated. Pak has the voice of it down, there just needs to be some work when it comes to more striking visuals.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Giovanni Valletta
Story: 8.05 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review