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I should say that Hardcase is truly a unique title and it also is one of the more defining titles of the Ultraverse. It features a super human being who has powers but remains constantly disturbed with guilt having survived a tragedy that killed two teammates and incapacitated his loved one. On moving forward, he worked in Hollywood movie productions until evil forces compelled him to get involved.
Previously I reviewed Hardcase’s crossover with the Strangers told in two comic books. Now we can focus more on him and his pretty companion choice in a standalone adventure in Hardcase #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Scott Benefiel.
The story begins at a nice home in Dana Point, California, where a man named Jonny Wong is making love with a lady only to be disrupted by a telephone call. Upon answering the phone, Jonny is informed to get out as a killer has been sent to kill him. He does not realize that his bodyguards have been killed. Suddenly a man enters the bedroom and kills him and the lady.
A short time later, Hardcase and Choice arrive to meet with detective Chuck Brown who examines the photograph of the dead Jonny Wong and the woman. With the detective’s assistance, Hardcase and Choice proceed to meet Bob Dixon, the head of the Choice Corporation at its headquarters…
This is another well written story by James Hudnall. I like the way the mystery got established followed by Hardcase’s search for answers. This story, which was nicely illustrated by Scott Benefiel, further explored the Choice Corporation and its control on Choice. Hardcase was shown to really care for Choice which I enjoyed as part of witnessing how his personality developed. Furthermore, this story nicely reconnects to something particular from Hardcase’s last day with The Squad and it sure was presented with a strong horror flavor. As the corporate world in California is further explored, this comic book introduces Sandra Trent who is about to get involved with the dirty business of eliminating ultras.
I really like Hardcase #5. Strong mystery element in the story mixed with intrigue and an unrelenting sense of suspense. When it comes to spectacle, this comic book does not have much but that is not a problem at all. This is still an enjoyable read.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #5, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition cost $4 and $8 respectively.
Overall, Hardcase #5 is recommended.
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