by Mark Millar, Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig
It felt as though Huck was destined to be some sort of commentary on how a good thing can be spoiled, or how even those with the purest of intentions can be tainted by the ugliness of the world. After an incredibly uplifting first issue, its conclusion seemed to suggest that the book would head down that very road. Three issues in, and that notion might still be lingering, but Millar, Albuquerque and McCaig have maintained that positive outlook for almost every bit of the series.
Huck brings readers back into the world as he ventures into a sketchy part of Camden, New Jersey, in search of a woman who has gone missing. The character has made a promise to her parents and, despite the obvious risks, walks straight into a house of junkies to rescue the woman. This is, once again, an opportunity for Millar to showcase the foolishness of such an action and how a man-turned-hero would be undone by a single shot. Yet, Huck barely hesitates when he is threatened. Albuquerque’s pencils and McCaig’s colors are excellent throughout the sequence, leaving Huck to truly resemble a boy scout, a complete contradiction to his surroundings. The introductory sequence to the third chapter maintains certain beats that recur in subsequent moments as the book continues.
Huck appears to be filled with these moments when the book seems ready to become something bleak. In a few brief encounters at the banquet with the Governor, Huck feels as though fate and ill-will are bound to break him. Millar does an excellent job at seeding in passing remarks or a quick interaction that raises the tension a bit higher. While only the people from Huck’s hometown have ever suggested that something bad may come, Millar leans on the reader’s own imagination and awareness of the world, or even other literature, to anticipate an unfortunate fate for the book’s protagonist.
All the while, Albuquerque’s pencils help to evoke the emotional core of Huck. A large reason why the character feels so approachable is in the way Albuquerque has designed him. In each of these scenes, readers are provided such rich information through Huck’s physicality and the distortions in his face. When Huck decides he needs to return home, Albuquerque and McCaig present a beautiful set of panels that whisk the reader right along with the protagonist. McCaig’s palette for the series is an excellent fit. In this issue, as with the two previous, the setting shifts rapidly and dramatically. Moving from a run down city block to the countryside is one thing. With Huck, readers will feel these settings. McCaig’s craft brings a weight to each new location.
Complete with yet another worrying teaser ending, Huck #3 maintains the same caliber and investment as the previous chapters had. Following up on the cliffhanger from the second issue, Millar presses a bit harder on those concerns for what may befall Huck. Readers are likely crossing their fingers and knocking on wood that this benevolent creature remain unscathed by the world around him.