We’ve seen what happens when you kill John Wick’s dog. We’ve also seen what happens when you blow up John Wick’s house. But what happens to John Wick before he was the most feared assassin? Before he was the Baba Yaga? Dynamite’s John Wick issue 1 takes place before the events of the movies and starts the tale of a young John Wick starting his way at the bottom of the criminal underworld. John is on a personal vendetta of hunting down the Three Bills, a gang of violent criminals with a connection to John’s past. He scouts out a town in El Paso, Texas and begins his hunt for clues on the location of the Three Bills. As John’s continues his vendetta against the Three Bills, he places himself into an increasing amount of cross hairs. His actions gets the attention of a guild of assassins, who place a hit contract out for John. This guild of assassins do not kindly welcome unannounced new comers into their order, and do not tolerant a freelance hit man like Wick.
Writer Greg Pak does an excellent job of giving enough details about John’s past that flows well with the original source of the movies and makes a great beginning for a stand alone comic. Pak depicts a younger John Wick still as a man of focus, but hasn’t earn his widely known fame yet. Of the characters we are introduced to, John does not get the dead pause response when spoken about. John is a lethal person to mess with and he doesn’t waste his time dealing with unnecessary violence. However, when it comes time for John to become violent, it’s best to not be in the same room as him. (Or even the same town). John doesn’t have a ton of dialogue in this issue, he is a man of few words and lots of action. Greg Pak retains the feel of a clam John Wick that when pushed too far, will punch people in the throat and then looking for a pencil to stab with. Artist Giovanni Valletta absolute nails the subtle details of Keanu Reeves portrayal of John Wick. The neutral look of John Wick gives off a friendly tone, but can quickly change to a cold stare that should give the bad guys a big hint to back off. (*Spoiler* They don’t). When the action scenes begin, Valletta gets the fast paced fight sequences into the neatly form movements that showcases Wick’s combat abilities. From punches thrown, people being flipped and guns fired, the art convents the right notes for any awesome action sequence.
Comic fans looking to get a dose of action into their line up should take a peak at what Dynamite is bringing with this series. Fans of the John Wick movies, and the action movies that it was inspired by should definite pick up an issue to see more of stories of John kicking butt.