Review: Hardware: Season One #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Denys Cowan
Inks: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Hardware: Season One #2 proves that it pays to return to the scene of a crime, an accident, or an unsolved incident. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks involved.
Positives — A Budding Artist
Readers are introduced to budding artist Deacon. He saw Hardware escape at the end of the last issue and only goes to bed after dad convinces him that it is way past his bedtime. Deacon later gets in trouble for drawing during class. His teacher disagrees with Deacon’s take on Hardware’s actions the night before. Deacon’s classmates tease him that Icon is waiting for him outside.
But Deacon is undeterred. He apologizes to his dad for receiving detention, tries to make his case that he thought Hardware’s outfit was cool, and even agrees when dad decides they will write an apology letter to Deacon’s teacher. By the time Deacon and Hardware have a fated interaction, the young artist had endeared himself to this reviewer. Tension builds with every panel when Deacon’s life is suddenly placed squarely in Hardware’s hands.
Positives — Allies
Hardware has allies. Even as Edwin Alva pretends to defend Curtis Metcalf publicly while privately setting him up to take the fall, one keen observer sees a familiar profile lurking in the background. Tiffany and Curtis have a history, and he explains that this is the only reason he allowed her to “recognize” him while he is in disguise. But, Tiffany knows she can help.
Some allies are now in trouble because of their association with Curtis. Virgil Hawkins called Curtis when he discovered that he was a Bang Baby who can harness electricity. But he soon discovered that the safe locker that Metcalf directed him to was being watched by the police. After seeing the multiple missed calls and voicemails from Virgil, Curtis tries to make contact. Instead, he is forced to leave a voicemail of his own. The only thing he can offer is a message to stay safe.
This is the kind of comic that makes it easy to feel like the issue could be twice as long and still feel too short.
Hardware is the story of a good person forced to run for his life. Reminiscent of The Fugitive, Curtis is brilliant in the way of powerful men. He is resourceful and he has spent his life working hard to get what he wants. He has long suspected that his employer and benefactor, Edwin Alva, has been hard at work secretly sabotaging Metcalf. Pinning the Bang on Curtis is just the first step in a long takedown.
The best thing about Curtis is the fact that he, and allies like Tiffany, have seen this coming. They know that Alva has a pubic side and a private side. Hardware will need to fight his war with Alva on two fronts, and the fact that Alva has both privilege and public perception on his side should not be lost on the reader. Taking down Alva will also require a commitment to the long game.