Comics: John Wick #2 - Reviewed

John Wick exploded onto the screen in 2014 and the intense action film was a huge critical and box office success, grossing $89 million worldwide against a production budget of $30 million. Its popularity and interesting world of hitmen and violent action has spawned into a major franchise, with Chapter 2 having been released in February 2017 and the third film expected to be released in May 2019. There are also several spin-off currently being developed which includes a child assassin film currently titled Ballerina and a TV series titled The Continental, focusing on the hotel that is featured in the films. It seemed inevitable, with the success of the franchise, that someone would swoop in and release a comic devoted to the character and his world. Enter Dynamite Entertainment, whose John Wick #2 was released this week.

The comic book series is a prequel, further exploring and building the story of John Wick. We specifically learn about his childhood and a vendetta that he has with several other hitmen. The narrative switches back and forth between his current location of El Paso and the events that occurred in Mexico twelve years ago, with issue one setting up up most of this. He is currently in El Paso as a freelancer looking to handle some personal business, which is hitman terminology for revenge. His targets were set to eliminate a man named Charon, a member of the staff of The Continental, until Wick intervened and eliminated a on person on his list. This all sets up the ending of the first issue, with Wick having made some new enemies for his actions.

Issue 2 sees Charon bring Wick to the El Paso branch of The Continental, where he gets introduced to the rules, environment, and his newly created enemies. This issue also puts him face-to-face with the other men that he’s after, resulting in a huge firefight. It doesn’t really end on a major cliffhanger, but we know that Wick isn’t a man to take lightly. Greg Pak has attempted to add more layers to the mythos of John Wick, which can be a tricky thing. Sometimes that air of mystery makes the character slightly more intriguing and you end up losing something along the way by revealing too much. Only time will tell if that’s ultimately the case. One thing that is for certain is this, Wick’s luck seems to only pertain to him and his ability to survive, as anyone one he cares about tends to end up dead.

The art from Giovanni Valletta has that fairly standard mainstream comic book look to it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn’t personally enthrall or impress me. It’s not bad by any means and there are surely many readers that his style appeals to, it just doesn’t blow me away. That being said, there are still some interesting pages and panel choices, along with a great deal of action. There is a fair amount of black shading and the characters shift back and forth between having detailed characteristics to being less detailed in many other panels. The colors look decent and there is a nice amount of varied shading giving the characters and environments an added layer of depth.

While I personally wasn’t overly impressed with the artwork in this series, John Wick is at least an entertaining and action-packed comic that further delves into his world. Fans of the franchise would most likely enjoy this comic.