Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Huck 2, originally released December 16, 2015.
Michael: The tale of Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque’s altruistic and gentle giant continues in Huck 2. As scores of people gather outside, Huck has been holed up in his house under the watchful eye of his friendly neighbors. While his neighbors seem content to keep Huck hidden from the potential scorn and judgement of the media, Huck needs to go outside and help people. Because that’s just what Huck does. Huck generously accepts the calls for help then goes out into the world to right these wrongs, with a large group of watchers-by in tow. The issue gives us a little more insight into Huck’s origins, as we are introduced to his (twin?) brother. We are also introduced to a character referred to only as “Mrs. Jones,” who seems to have telepathic powers, perhaps due to Soviet experimentation.
Mark Millar has said that Huck was born out of his disappointment in the depiction of Superman in Man of Steel. Couple that with the fact that Huck is a sweetheart country bumpkin with a near-spirt curl, and it’s clear that he is the latest of Millar’s Superman analogues. Similar to what we saw this week in Superman: American Alien, many of the locals of Huck’s hometown respect and protect his identity. Huck is still very much a mystery, but I like the idea that instead of a kind couple raising this orphan wonder we have an entire town. Huck is the secret everyone in town knows but doesn’t feel the need to talk about. To them Huck is a natural part of their environment; a force of good that improves their everyday lives.
Millar seems to be teasing the exploration of Huck’s origins down the line, but for me the big mystery present in Huck 2 comes in the form of two redheads: Mrs. Jones and Diane Davis. In Huck 1, Diane Davis was introduced as the new girl in town who got the lowdown on Huck from Mrs. Taylor. Diane sold out Huck’s story to the media for some unspecified amount. She’s only mentioned briefly (and scornfully) by her neighbors and scene weeping out of guilt for her betrayal of trust. That’s probably all of Diane Davis’ story right there – case closed. So while there might not be any connection, I couldn’t get over how similar Diane looked to the mysterious Mrs. Jones however.
Given her 1981 flashback and the news’ labeling Huck’s age as 34, it’s pretty damn likely that Jones is Huck’s mama. By leaving baby Huck on a stranger’s doorstep while watching him from a close distance, she kinda pulled an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Why’d she have to go and put that nice boy Ethan to sleep, huh? With the reveal of Professor Orlov watching at the end, Mama Jones is probably preparing for her old “friend” to come a knockin’.
Huck is very clearly Superman, but he’s also giving me a Forrest Gump vibe; especially with a large crowd following him around with great interest. Huck doesn’t have a cape or tights, nor does he have a secret identity – Huck is just Huck. When word spreads of Huck’s good deeds, it doesn’t garner judgment or persecution, but general interest. Diane spilling Huck’s secret was basically a want ad in the paper, soliciting Huck’s services. But with all of the positive attention that Huck is getting, the other shoe is bound to drop –most likely in the form of the Russians.
Ryan, how did this issue find you? Did Rafael Albuquerque’s art fool you into thinking you were in an issue of American Vampire? Do you have the sneaking suspicion that Huck’s brother is his twin brother like I do?
Ryan: I do think that it’s a significant possibility that we have twins on our hands. He could also be an older brother who has vague memories of baby Huck. The characters introduced in this issue including Huck’s brother, Professor Orlov and Ms. Jones, all reinforce how special Huck and his community really are. Outside of Huck and his town, people are shown to be malevolent forces in each other’s lives.
While I am pretty sure there won’t be any vampires in this book, Albuquerque’s style and the scenes with Jones did have a darkness to them. That said, she doesn’t age too much in 34 years, maybe she is both Huck’s mom and a vampire… The issue starts with Professor Orlov testing Jones as she stands in the snow wearing a hospital gown. She is also being held at gunpoint.
What was most striking for me in this scene was Jones’ expression in the panel above. She looks pleased and self composed, even though we can see the ice cracking below her bare feet. She is some kind of prisoner and yet there is a coy tilt to her expression. Her thoughts and feelings are only hinted at. This ambiguity is in direct contrast to Huck’s earnestness. He operates on a simple mantra of daily acts of good. This opening vignette foreshadows a bit of the complexity that awaits Huck.
Huck is obviously physically gifted and has the ability to help people with those gifts. But the issue reinforces that what may be most special about Huck, i.e. his boundless kindness and empathy. When he finds a man who has abandoned his wife and children, Huck wears the same concerned expression and unspoken offer of help that he brings to every interaction. He is the type of guy that checks on unconscious kidnappers to make sure that they’re okay. Actually, I’m not sure that there are enough people like that to form a “type.”
In addition to his deep kindness, Huck moves with a graces that belies his hulking shape. In the panel above, he is flipping over a truck and his pointed toes imply a lightness on his feet and his body leaps through the air like a ballet dancer. The beauty of his movements coupled with his generosity of spirit remind the reader of what the town was trying to protect and what is at stake as these new characters draw closer to Huck.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?