HARDWARE season 1 #1

Now here’s the first issue of the last of three new titles that are part of this Milestone Comics relaunch. Ironically Hardware was actually the title that launched the original incarnation of Milestone, and the character I most identify with the imprint, but I think Static supplanted him in the general public’s mind, thanks no doubt to that Static Shock animated series (which I never watched).

Anyway this issue picks up the cliffhanger in Hardware’s segment in the Milestone Returns special issue. Curtis, now in his Hardware suit (but not actually calling himself that yet) has been tracked by the police to his secret lab, and is ordered to surrender, which he does not. There’s an extended action sequence as Hardware fights the police using the high tech weapons built into his suit and manages to get away.

Meanwhile his boss, Edwin Alva is back at his headquarters playing innocent as he talks to the police, who are telling him about all of the evidence that they’ve uncovered which indicates that Curtis is indeed responsible for that special gas which killed (and transformed) so many of the protestors at the Blacks Lives Matter rally now called The Big Bang. Alva pretends to be surprised and in disbelief that Curtis is really responsible, hiding the fact that he actually set up Curtis and framed him for the event. Through Alva’s private thoughts he recaps his history with Curtis, which is similar to the orgiinal continuity. Alva, a high tech genius business man, encountered Curtis when Curtis was 10 at a local science fair and recognized him as scientific child prodigy. Alva then mentored Curtis, paying for his education throught his youth and hired him to work for him when Curtis graduated. We’re not giving the exact details of what caused thier falling out, but Curtis disapproved of something Alva was doing, which they fought over, hence this frame-up.

I love how writer Brandon Thomas protrays this version of Alva, he’s less cartoonishy “evil” and more coldly evil. He views Curtis as a valuable resouces which has become no longer useful and must be sacrified for Alva’s on agenda. There is personal confrontation between the two men, as Curtis vows to make Alva pay for what he’s done, but Alva simply dismisses him. It’s a powerful moment in itself, as Curtis clearly feels the hurt over this betrayal from a man he thought of as a father figure, while even Alva appears to feel a tinge of regret at what he feels is Curtis’ lack of gratitude for all Alva did for him and for Curtis’ refusal to see the bigger picture, in Alva’s eyes.

There’s also a subplot of a young boy named Deacon who sees Curtis in action and looks up to him, despite his current status as an outlaw. Deacon was a adult character and ally of Hardware in the original series, we’ll see how this rebooted version fit in the series. Brandon has successfully relanched this title in a manner that is sure to please original fans as well as attract new ones. And with an all-star art team of Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor (penciler, inker, and colorist), this is one of the best comic-books I’ve read all year.



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