Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Giovanni Valletta
Colors: David Curie
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Giovanni Valletta
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
A new chapter in the John Wick legend, but how does his special brand of “gun fu” translate to the comic page?
We join John in El Paso, Texas, doing the second thing he does best; minding his own business. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t take long for some schmuck to start antagonizing him. It seems like this is something of an origin story, but no direct context is given, so it’s left for us to decipher.
Greg Pak does an excellent job of maintaining the core of the character. He isn’t quick to anger. He doesn’t mince words. He’s a quiet storm, rumbling in the distance, until he’s raining down on you. Just because he doesn’t have bullets doesn’t mean he won’t still kill you with a gun. It’s all in here, and contains a welcome touch of dark comedy for us sickos.
Valletta handles the art well. None of the panels are going to bowl you over, but it exhibits functional storytelling. Wick is the spitting image of Keanu Reeves, but the simplistic style never comes off as stiff, which can be a pitfall for some live-action adaptations. I was impressed with the choreography, but there were a couple of instances that didn’t transition well panel to panel, like there was a beat missing in between. Likewise, the coloring has some really nice moments, but many of the backgrounds are the same repeated gradient.
This first entry moves lightning-fast, just like the films it emulates. I was surprised to find the last page so soon, but it does manage to pack a lot in. Pak handles the character with finesse, keeping him from being interchangeable with other “one-man-army” types. The art team has some highs and lows, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I especially enjoyed the catalyst that sets Wick off; mistreatment of animals is not advised in this man’s vicinity!