Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
When it comes to engagement with the Ultraverse, I could never forget the impact that came with Hardcase #1 specifically with the way it introduced its title character Tom Hawke. Hardcase was presented as a superhero living with the guilt of surviving a major tragedy from the past that resulted the deaths of two teammates and the permanent brain damage caused on his girlfriend. As part of his moving on, he put his talents to good use as a movie actor.
That being said, let’s take a look back at Hardcase #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and art by Cranial Implant Studio.
The story begins with a costumed lady on the run from something, distracting the many bystanders she passed. As she flies off the sidewalk, two armored men coming out of a truck fire their shots at her compelling her to activate her personal protective shield.
With explosions happening in the air near her, the two armored guys fly up to get near. One of them tells her to give up and come back to them. Suddenly the lady charged herself and fired beams from her eyes hitting one of the armored guys. She manages to escape.
Meanwhile, Tom Hawke/Hardcase attends the burial of Jamal. A brother of the deceased calls Hardcase’s attention and starts a conversation with him. Hardcase expressed how sorry he is for the death of Jamal and said that had he gotten to him sooner, he would have still been living. The survivor’s guilt really disturbs Tom.
Suddenly, a group of youth approaches Hardcase asking for his autograph. Hardcase receives from Jamal’s brother a card for calling.
Over at San Diego, California, two men in business attire discuss their search for the costumed lady who got away. Near them are monitors of products endorsed by the same costumed lady. Her name is Choice and one of the executives stated that, according to a team analysis, she arrived in California to meet with Hardcase…
As a follow-up to the compelling launch issue, this comic book is nowhere as engaging. To be fair to the creators, some space had to be made to accommodate and introduce Choice to readers, and give Hardcase someone to interact with. In connection with the first issue, Hardcase is nicely portrayed with having the survivor’s guilt and the Jamal burial scene was helpful in fleshing out his character. James Hudnall delivered a good story overall, just not as deep as the first issue.
The art meanwhile, done by Cranial Implant Studio, really took a deep dive down in terms of quality. Jim Callahan’s art in the first issue was very good and the art in this comic book really failed to keep up with the artistic quality established. Cranial Implant Studio’s art has a very cartoony look done with sloppiness instead of precision. In fairness, the action scenes were decently drawn.
Hardcase #2 does not deliver the gripping storytelling and spectacle of the first issue. It’s not a terrible comic book of the Ultraverse, just average in quality. At the very least, the introduction of Choice and her meeting with Hardcase added some intrigue for further stories to come. Indeed, the Hardcase monthly series went on to last 26 issues in total.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #2, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the newsstand edition’s near-mint copy is at $8.
Overall, Hardcase #2 is worth buying below its cover price.
Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com