It’s here. The final showdown between Calamity, two of the three Bills and Baba Yaga himself. The finale perfectly sums up the entire comic run. A rather generic and at times disappointing show but with stand out moments scattered throughout which will still put a smile on the faces of fans of the franchise. The final issue doesn’t quite give its star villain the ending she deserves but it does show a side of John we’ve never seen which is accompanied with great action.
This Review Will Contain Spoilers
John Wick issue #5 written by Greg Pak with artwork from Giovanni Valletta, David Curiel and, Tom Napolitano wraps up the comic series by summarising everything I love and hate about the comic. The issue kicks off at breakneck speed swapping between Wicks traumatic childhood in Mexico and his current troubles with Billy, Buffalo, and Calamity. John makes a b-line for Calamity as she rains down fire from a nearby rooftop. This is the first time we see John actually interact with a civilian telling him to run as he fires at Calamity. It was strange seeing John interact with a regular guy and actually care about them, or pretend to care at least. Calamity comes down to battle with the legendary assassin which is unfortuanlty cut short after a small bike chase with billy interrupting and getting taken hostage by John. It becomes clear pretty quickly that these two infamous killers aren’t going to give their all when it turns into a dreadfully slow and boring standoff between the two who each have hostages they are threatening to kill. John tries and fails to trick Calamity into killing the two bills before eventually letting billy go and asking for the captured civilians to be released too. Buffalo asks John to throw down his weapons and the in the midst of all of this chaos John literally phones a friend. I wish I was joking. He really does phone Maria in the middle of a standoff to accept her offer. Maria’s friends, who just so happens to be cops show up and get the civilians out of there before John puts a couple of shots in Billy and Buffalo. Buffalo tries to take calamity hostage before obviously regretting it before accidentally getting shot by Billy who is then shot by Calamity. Just to wrap up the ridiculousness John then easily puts Calamity down with a single bullet.
John Wick has always had stupidly fast, over the top action and for the most part it always worked. It doesn’t here because it chooses shock factor over satisfying storytelling. The series wraps up with John finally working for Maria rather than being a freelancer. The action throughout looks stunning as always but seems utterly ridiculous in the context of the story. It comes off feeling a little rushed and unfortunately quite underwhelming.
Issue #5 struggles to cope with its various villains but luckily it handles Mr. Wick great. I really loved him in this issue. Seeing him interact with and actually bargain for civilians lives was strange at first but I really liked that side of him. We’ve only seen John deal with personal problems or trauma like his dog or his car but here he’s handling other peoples lives. People he doesn’t know and it adds a nice moral compass for the character.
The same cannot be said for our villains who feel horribly miss-managed here. Billy and Buffalo go from having no character to being a pair of bumbling idiots. Calamity also feels out of character here too trying to use civilians to get to John rather than just attacking him outright. Maria is just sort of there. she shows up at the end, gives John a job and then just leaves. She does very little outside of getting the civilians out of the fight so John could kill Billy and Buffalo.
This issues artwork is its one redeeming quality and has been the only thing other than Wicks character which I have consistently enjoyed throughout the series. Even though this issue doesn’t deliver on its cinematic final battle that it was building up to, the action we do get is stunning. The entire look of the issue sells the over the top, “final battle” vibe better than the story does which is a real shame. At least the series finale is a spectacle to look at if nothing else.
John Wick issue #5 falls flat of delivering a satisfying conclusion instead, choosing to focus more on John Wicks infamous shock value over good storytelling. Unfortuanlty it misses the mark. It adds some interesting values to John as a character and obviously looks stunning as always but doesn’t quite manage to warp up the whole story nicely.