COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 – Orlov’s Big Day | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 – Orlov’s Big Day

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 - Orlov's Big Day

Writer: Mark Millar

Artists: Rafael Albuquerque, Dave McCaig, Nate Piekos

$3.99

Image Comics

When we last left Huck, the cyborg masquerading as his long lost brother had snapped his back, leading the nefarious Professor Orlov to his long-lost captive and former school boy crush, Anna, Huck’s mother. Issue #5 brings us right back to that, as we reunite with the whole gang at Orlov’s secret base inside Soviet Science City Thirty Three.

COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 - Orlov's Big Day

Huck # 5 – Page 6

Albuquerque’s light line work and McCaig’s watercolor tones in this issue help bring to life the setting of the outside world, a desolate picture of the Soviet Union, complete with lingering snow. Other than that, most of the background work in this issue is left fairly stark – filled in with only flat colors with minor highlights by McCaig. Since most of this issue is about the posturing of the characters and how their actions play out, that works well. It draws the focus completely on them, and Albuquerque’s character acting, and also gives the sense of the sterile facility that Huck and Anna are being held captive in – the same facility Anna had been locked away in all those years ago.

With all of that being said, there’s not a lot that happens in this issue. The story is furthered minimally and hardly brings about any revelations to the narrative. Huck and Anna get their chance to bond, as they’ve not been together since Huck was just two years old. Orlov gets to take down a thorn in his side with a swift bullet to the head, and finally gets the institutional backing that he’s been after to further his work in a super soldier program, one that will be fueled by Huck’s DNA. However, all of this could have been posited in a few short lines. What we’re left with, are drawn out scenes drenched in exposition. The bad guys tease the good guys like schoolyard bullies, and the good guys get good things.

Huck #5 - Page 8

Huck #5 – Page 8

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Having said all of that, the characters are entertaining. Millar expertly enlarges Orlov’s ego, while conversely filling Huck and Anna full of stoic altruism. The characters are pristine archetypes of hero and villain, leaving little room for grey areas. Huck is such a pure character. Between his personality and his strength, he’s akin to a boyhood version of Clark Kent. All he wants to do is the right thing, no matter what the cost, and he’s not yet burdened by the troubled world around him. He’s stayed in Kansas, and never found Metropolis.

On the flip side, Orlov is Lex Luthor without all of the money. He’s driven purely by exploiting Huck for personal gain through a series of grandiose schemes that will undoubtedly be foiled, even if they work for a while. What Millar has done here, though, is made an archetype driven story interesting. Because Huck isn’t an actual Superman, because he has more than one weakness, and because he can be broken, you feel for him. There’s a genuine sense of care for his well being. With not much going on to further the story in this issue, that attachment is needed.

COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 - Orlov's Big Day

Huck #5 – Page 11

There are however a couple of brief scenes to note that give us a glimpse of things to come. One, is that Orlov is getting his way. He’s going to build an army for the Russian government, with ulterior motives of furthering his cause. The other, is that Huck’s connection with his mother takes on a new life as they combine their powers to break free from their prison. Anna is an empath, and wills Huck to break down one of the walls in their holding area. Because her power is so strong, it drives Huck to do things that he is not strong enough to do on his own. With a connection like that between them, if they’re able to stay together, they could perform the impossible which brings a lot of hope to the story as Orlov begins his rise to power.

That’s how the issue ends. Huck ceremoniously crashes through the wall and hulks over a bewildered Tom, or XV, as he’s known in the evil science world. With not a ton of progression over the past couple of issues, it does feel like Millar is building towards a blowout ending in his first arc. Only time will tell, but Millar does have a flair for blowout endings.

COMIC REVIEW: Huck #5 - Orlov's Big Day

Huck #5 – Page 17

The “Best There Is:” Albuquerque’s art does a great job of framing the narrative around the characters, leaving out an abundance of background detail. Millar writes his characters well, not breaking the mold, but bending it slightly by delivering old hat themes in a new and interesting way.

The “Not Very Nice:” There’s not a lot to further the story. Millar has slowed his pacing down by way of exposition and character posturing and left us wondering if he’s building towards a grandiose arc finale. Unfortunately, we aren’t given much while we wait, and the narrative begins to take a turn for the dull.

FBI Score: 7.5 out of 10. While Huck wades through the middle of its arc it is met with some growing pains. Millar’s narrative is enjoyable, but there’s not enough here to hang on to. Albuquerque’s artwork is a saving grace, and fully supports the character driven story. You can feel the build though, and there’s something to be said for that as we rapidly approach the arc ending sixth issue.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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