Review: Hardcore By Robert Kirkman And Marc Silvestri
From the creative minds of Image partners Robert Kirkman & Marc Silvestri! Once the hard core is shot into the back of your neck, an assassin’s brain waves can be transmitted into your body–circumventing your brain functions–taking complete control of your body. When assassins use this technology–your killer can be anyone; your barber, your neighbor or your wife. They are the best assassins in the world–but what happens when one of their own turns against them? Who can you trust when your enemy can change his appearance as easy as someone changes a shirt?
As the solicit info says, a Hardcore is shot in the back of a person’s neck and full control is given to an assassin. That assassin’s name is Agent Drake. He controls whoever the spotters mark with a Hardcore. Anyone can be taken over and they don’t know it until it’s too late. For seventy-two hours, Drake has full control of a person’s body while they remain in a “dreamlike” state not knowing what their puppet master has them doing. Drake is finishing up a mission when a representative from the Department of Defense comes in to get a look at the program and assess their funding. After finishing up a kill with a less-than-ideal person controlled by the Hardcore, Drake tells the representative all about the program.
As you would expect in a first issue, there is a fair amount of info dump about who the characters are, what the Hardcore is, how it works, and how the program selects the person they will control. Surprisingly, this comic book does a good job. Most books get bogged down in setting everything up that it becomes boring, but this one is one of the few I’ve read that makes the info dump interesting. While we learn about how it all works, we are seeing a sample mission from start to finish in an exciting way. The panel layout for this section works really well and makes it pop. This book came out yesterday, but I don’t want to spoil too much of it in case you haven’t read it yet. The agent from the DoD isn’t all she seems, and you can kind of tell how she will come into play when Drake meets the mind behind the Hardcore, Marcus. Marcus pays an unexpected visit to Drake and they have a chat that leaves a lot of questions while giving us enough to get a pretty good understanding of what’s going on.
The next day Drake is getting ready to start his next mission when things go south. The body he is thrown into is a better fit than the first one, which is convenient for what he has to do next. All the info we learned is slightly repeated before the cliffhanger but it just reminds us what kind of danger Drake has found himself in. The cliffhanger isn’t a complete surprise, but it works nicely and makes you excited for the next issue.
Bottom Line: Kirkman has another great book on his hands. It seems everything he touches lately turns into pure gold and this just adds another to the list. It’s an idea we have kind of seen before in some sci-fi shows and stories but it really works with the way it’s told and the art is pretty great. Mark Silvestri has a great cover that will grab people’s attention. Kirkman has a good story that is elevated with Brian Stelfreeze’s art. Some of the panels in the beginning are brilliantly done and the action sequences are superb. Image just keeps rolling out great book after great book and is cementing a place with some of their books on my best of list. This book is definitely one to pick up and be on the lookout for. Kirkman seems to be making the jump from print to TV screen with a lot of his books, and I’d love to see this one do that as well. I give this debut issue a perfect score of 5/5