Now that we’re three issues into “Huck,” it’s great to see how Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque have kept the book’s tone upbeat and cheerful. Though the characters around our hero try to exploit him, he remains untouched.
There’s something sweet about seeing Huck continue to do his good deed a day, both big and small. In Huck’s world, rescuing a woman in the depths of drug addiction is just as powerful as feeding hungry cats. Millar has tinges of darkness and nasty behavior when we see people like the Governor using Huck, but Millar still puts Huck on top. It would be easy to succumb to the idea of Huck getting tainted by those around him, but — if anything — Huck gets one over on them with innocence and without any sort of guile.
That said, the downside to “Huck” #3 (and a problem that continued on from the previous issue) is its slow pace. The cliffhanger from “Huck” #2 is revisited as the cliffhanger for “Huck” #3; while I appreciate Millar is going for a comic that is more about mood and tone than plot (and, on the whole, it’s working quite well that way), there is something a little frustrating about having two cliffhangers in a row plumbing the same territory. There needs to be a little more forward action on that front if we’re going to revisit this particular plot thread.
It’s Rafael Albuquerque’s art that quietly steals the show in this issue. You can see Huck’s discomfort with the tuxedo through the body language, not only in how he moves stiffly across the page while wearing it but also in how he holds it in the hotel room. The way it hangs by his side with the sleeves and pants squiggled across the floor ultimately says so much about the character. Add in a beautiful sense of motion — Huck leaping through the air is so graceful you can almost see him actually sailing across the panel — and it’s an amazing creation. Albuquerque’s signature ink washes work well with Dave McCaig’s colors, which just soak into the page with deep and gorgeous blues and greens. A nighttime sky has never looked so good.
“Huck” #3 is another charming issue and a reminder of how great Millar’s comics have been since he swapped shock-based plot turns for books that aim to evoke strong emotion in his readers. I could read “Huck” all day long and just smile because of how likable its title character is. More of this, please.