Writer: Andy Diggle
Creators: Robert Kirkman, Marc Silvestri
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Cover Artist: Dan Panosian
Editor: Jon Moisan
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Hardcore #1 brings us Agent Drake, a soldier for the Hardcore Program: a secret government project used for taking down high-priority targets. It’s the perfect program: hijack the body of a lowlife who can get access to the target, and when the job is done, let that person deal with the consequences. When Drake takes the driver’s seat of the other person’s body, he only has 72 hours before the nanites used to control the body dissolve. Everything is going great until an old enemy conducts a hostile takeover of the program…while Drake is in another body.
First issues can be hard. You have to get the reader’s attention right away. You have to make your characters engaging, the story worth coming back to, and you only have so many pages to do it. If you need a blueprint for what a good first issue looks like, it would be hard to find a better example than Hardcore #1.
Almost immediately the story drew me in and didn’t let me go. It drops you right into the action and presents you with the story’s concepts without being heavy on the exposition. Drake is an enigma: hot-headed, cocky, but, by all appearances, chooses not to cash in on his cushy government paychecks. The whole idea of hijacking a person’s body for assassination purposes is presented smoothly and is as close to believable as you can get.
The one weakness I can possibly see happening is getting used to the concept of following Drake as another person, becoming attached to that person, and then becoming himself again. Kind of like seeing John Travolta being good again at the end of Face/Off. Really though, that’s such a minor concern of mine, and knowing how well the first issue was written, I doubt my concern will come to fruition.
I loved the artwork in the book. It has a hand-drawn, pen-and-ink quality to it that makes it feel like Vitti really cared about his work enough to not take the glitzy, overproduced computer-generated art you see in a lot of sci-fi comics. Lucas’s coloring adds enough depth and shine to put you in the sci-fi mood but doesn’t overtake Vitti’s hand-drawn linework at all. It’s detailed but quite pleasing to the eyes.
Verdict: Buy it.
Hardcore #1 is the perfect introductory issue. It has all the right pieces in place to grab you and keep you along for the ride that is hopefully going to be a lot longer than 72 hours.