While John Wick might be famous for his cinematic exploits, he’s already jumped into the world of comic books. Dynamite Comics’ John Wick was released in September 2017 as a prequel to the 2014 hit action movie. The miniseries shared some key insight into the assassin Keanu Reeves plays on the big screen. It revealed what set John on his bloody path by taking a deep dive into his past, which neither of Wick’s first two movies have provided.
With director Chad Stahelski’s third movie out this week, CBR is taking a look back at this five-issue prequel series from Greg Pak, Matt Gaudio and Giovanni Valletta to see how the events from that miniseries have influenced, and could tie into, John being on the run now.
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WHAT IS JOHN WICK’S BACKSTORY?
The first movie dealt with John losing his wife and dog, and the sequel dealt with him losing the home they built. However, the franchise had already set him up as the Boogeyman, an assassin of legend who had retired by the time the movies kicked off. In this comic, we see John’s early history as a young thief in Mexico trying to scrounge scraps up for his poor town.
Sadly, one of his thefts led to a bunch severalassassins — a blonde woman named Calamity and her three gunmen, Billy, Pecos and Buffalo — blowing up the village and killing its people in revenge. They failed to kill young John, though, and this incident inspired John to spend his the rest of his life training for revenge. This set him on his path with the Continental and the league of mercenaries for hire across the globe.
WHAT DID WE LEARN ABOUT JOHN?
The series also established that John became such a compassionate person because, in part, he grew up in poverty. This is why he only kills criminals, which is a weakness his enemies tried to expose time and time again. The hitman didn’t believe in endangering innocents, and his love for animals is on clear display in his early days as he looks after some cats as well. This was because John always loved quiet settings, and he felt animals offered an environment conducive to what he needed.
The comics also established that John was even more cutthroat in his younger years, since he killed Pecos and then pit Billy, Calamity and Buffalo against each other. He was quite cerebral and opted to use his brain more than his bullets. Of course, as the years passed he realized he was better with the gun, which proved to be a better method for an in-demand contract killer. John eventually went on to kill the trio, only to find out a gangster named Maria was the one pulling his strings.
DOES IT TIE INTO THE MOVIES?
The John Wick comics only connect the John Wick films to a point, and they supplement the films’ events. For example, John and his partnership with Maria is never actually seen in the film. After she helps him with his revenge scheme, he repays her by becoming her lead hitman and kills all of her criminal enemies on a killing spree. We didn’t find out how the business relationship ended or how John found his wife, married and went into retirement, though, so it doesn’t connect to the first film on that front.
However, the series fills in the background on John’s relationship to Charon, the front-desk clerk played by Lance Reddick in the films. We saw they had some sort of professional relationship and something of a friendship on the big screen, and the series explains that it’s because John inadvertently saved Charon from Pecos’ thugs. This allowed Charon to introduce John to the Continental in El Paso, where he’d eventually be inducted. While we thought Ian McShane’s Winston found and groomed John, it’s Charon who truly brought him into the world we’ve seen in theaters.
While John Wick 3 or any other subsequent films could overwrite the events of this series, it doesn’t seem like any of these past stories will tie into his current predicament or status as a fugitive. However, the comics have left room for many more stories to be told about his career as a hitman. Plus, there’s always the chance that Maria could emerge on the big screen if the hitman survives long enough to meet her.