Mark Millar loves to write Superman, but his sights focus more in creating more independent comics. He did write about Superman, but Red Son is considered non-canon of the DC Universe grand narrative (or ELSE WORLDS prior The New 52 line in 2011). He ended up Superman archetypes, particularly Superior (with our Filipino extraordinaire Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan) and Jupiter’s Legacy (with The Authority collaborator and fellow Scotsman Frank Quitely). This time around, he created another Man of Steel paradigm, but in more grounded and humane, and written and envisioned in heartwarming manner entitled HUCK.
HUCK, with co-creator and illustrator Rafael Albuquerque, collects the entire six single-issues story arc, alongside some additional creative outputs included by the creative team. As the title signifies, it is as straightforward as it gets. It chronicles a simple lad who works in a gasoline station in a rustic middle-America community and later on; manifests his superhuman powers like super strength and speed, above-level stamina and durability, and a high-level ability to search something and someone he wants to/with. To complete the Man of Tomorrow paradigm, he is a downright earth-to-goodness gentleman. Simply say, he helps virtually everyone, even accommodating opportunistic politicians in his hometown. The real action starts to midway when a mysterious relative find him and try to reunite with his lost matriarch. The rest is classic family and superhero narrative tropes, but engaging read (and to mushy types, tear jerking!).
Mark Millar scripts, especially the dialogues and exchanges, are simple; except for the obvious villainy (another Lex Luthor archetype, plus in traditional sci-fi-Cold War tradition). Seriously, this is the most humble and humane superhero creation Mark Millar produced so far (not even his Red Son). It would be interesting if he continues to create/conceptualize more Superman archetypes.
Sure, Rafael’s artwork is minimalist, but that serves the purpose. Rustic, gentle to the eyes, and so earthly to mesmerize (for a good measure), the illustrations are anything but typical Millar-bloody treatment, another reason why HUCK is unique, if not peculiar, among Millar’s body of works. The artist’s love breathtaking spreads are noticeable in the most positive way, justified in his artistic interpretation of Millar’s tight but lyrical script. In short, Rafael’s visual sequential storytelling is accessibly great.
For obvious reasons, HUCK is less violent than majority of Mark Millar’s “bloody” works, even the usage of foul language. It can be read alongside with another almost family-friendly work, Starlight. But Huck is tamer than ever. Regardless, Mark evolves as a writer, a little more flexible and more family-centered until Empress comes around. Huck, Vol. 1 is another evolution of the Scotsman’s continuing writing process, particularly his continuing search of a “perfect” Superman paradigm in the independent comic circuit. READ IT with PLEASURE.
Huck, Vol. 1 will be available at your nearest local comic book shop this week.