Review – John Wick #1 (Dynamite)

Publisher: Dynamic Comics
Writer: Greg Pak
Artwork: Giovanni Valetta
Colours: David Curiel and Inlight Studios
Release Date: 29th November 2017

This week sees the release of the first John Wick comic book, courtesy of the folks at Dynamite, featuring a story that digs into John’s past as he tracks down a group of individuals who made the grave mistake of wronging him as a child.

It’s worth mentioning that the story here happens out of context from either of the movies, creating a nice little John Wick bubble for him to conduct his own particular brand of bad-assery in.

Writer Greg Pak definitely comes across as a fan of the aforementioned movies, bringing Wick to the page with the same understated, soft-spoken confidence that made Keanu Reeves’ big screen version such a smash hit.

That said, a lot of the impact of this first issue comes from the fact that we’re seeing Keanu’s hugely popular character transferred onto the printed page, rather than from the writing or the artwork themselves.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a badly written or badly drawn first issue by any means, but the unique selling point here is definitely the license itself as opposed to the actual content.

The highlights of this opening chapter, as should be expected by anyone who has seen the big screen version of this particular character, are the action scenes, and while watching Wick cutting a swath through bad guys here isn’t quite as viscerally thrilling as it is in the movies, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.  Valetta also does a great job with the choreography, throwing in some of John’s trademark violent creativity during one particularly impressive double-page spread near the end of the issue.

Everything looks suitably authentic too, with Valetta’s Wick being a dead wringer for Keanu without him having to resort to the uncomfortable ‘photo reference’ style that a lot of artists utilise.  The visual package is rounded out with some solid colour work from David Curiel and Inlight Studios, making for a good-looking comic that does its best to capture the energy and dynamism of its movie source material.

Putting the questions about whether we necessarily needed a John Wick comic in the first place to one side, what we have here at the end of the day is a fairly enjoyable action thriller with a solid, if slightly unremarkable storyline.  If you’re a fan of the movies then you’ll definitely get a kick out the extra content here, but if you aren’t already familiar with Keanu’s critically-acclaimed big screen bad-ass, then this new series is probably worth skipping.

Rating: 3/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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