• John Wick #1

    John Wick #1
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: November 29th, 2017.
    Written by: Greg Pak
    Illustrated by: Giovanni Valletta
    Purchase From Amazon

    The first issue of this new series from Dynamite Entertainment, spun off from the film series of the same name, begins in the West Texas town of El Paso. John Wick strolls into the Pax’s Diner to get himself a slice of pie. Inside is a loudmouth and his girlfriend. They talk about their job for a man named Pecos, that they can take care of it as early as tonight. When Wick gets his pie before the loudmouth gets his steak, he makes a scene – but Wick being Wick, he ignores it. The loudmouth and his lady friend leave. Thirteen minutes later, Wick is at the store buying milk. He heads into a seemingly abandoned apartment building, feeds a stray cat, leaves and then checks into the fleabag motel next door.

    We flashback to twelve years earlier, El Sauzel, Baja, California. John, just a kid, runs through the desert chased by the Three Bills. A man named Buff tells Pecos that it’s his fault and even if it is just a grand, they need to keep that kid out of their stash. Shots are fired but the kid gets away… for a while. Until one of the Three Bills, Pecos, pulls out a rocket launcher.

    Wick wakes up in the present day on the couch in the crummy hotel. He looks out his window and sees a bald black guy stroking a cat interrupted when a group of gun men come into his room, and one of the men is the loudmouth from the diner. One of the other men is named Pecos. Wick knows what he has to do, and so he grabs a pillow to cushion him as he jumps out of his window and through the other window. He’s outnumbered and outgunned but that doesn’t stop him from mopping the floor with these guys. He makes his way through the horde until he gets to Pecos who recognizes him instantly…

    This issue does what a good first issue should do – it sets up bigger things to come. We get enough action, Wick in killing machine mode, to meet the expectations you’d have going into a John Wick story but by the time you get to the last page it’s obvious that Greg Pak has more in mind than just showing off the titular character’s skills with a firearm. Without spoiling things, there are ties, connections… these are going to matter later. How? We don’t know yet, but it’ll probably be a fun read getting to that point. Simultaneously, Pak seems to be digging into Wick’s mysterious past even in this first issue with the flashback scenes, and tying them into his present. There isn’t much character development yet, but the seeds are being sewn to get there.

    Giovanni Valletta’s artwork, colored by David Curiel and Inlight Studios, is strong. There could be more background detail in some panels, but his layouts are slick and his characters well illustrated. Wick looks more than enough like Keanu Reeves to work here, and the action scenes have the right amount of momentum to them to make them exciting.

    All in all, a good first issue that ends on a strong enough cliffhanger to make you want to come back for the next one. Where it’ll go from there, only Pak and Valletta know, but this first attempt? A fun read. Well done.