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Having read the first several issues of Hardcase, I must say that the late James Hudnall did an incredible job on developing the titular character. Hardcase #9 was very memorable as it marked a turning point in Hardcase’s life and the further development of his relationship with Choice, the lady he has been helping for some time. That particular comic book had a powerful ending as well.
That being said, now we can take a look back at Hardcase #10, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Kelly Krantz.
The story begins with Tom Hawke/Hardcase being spied on electronically by Aladdin. It turns out, the secret organization has been spying on him for eight weeks as they viewed him as a potential danger to them given his ultra abilities, his capability of solving mysteries and recent interactions he had with other existing ultras. Aladdin continues to collect more data needed to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hardcase.
Meanwhile, Hardcase and Choice start a heartful talk about some serious, personal matters now that they are in a relationship. Choice admits that her memories of the past have been coming back since they returned from the moon.
I’ll say it straight here – this comic book is full of character development laced with mystery and intrigue. It clearly lacks superhero action (which issue #9 had so much of) but that is NOT a problem at all. This is because James Hudnall’s script is truly compelling to read and his writing was successfully brought to life visually by Kelly Krantz. Not even the slowest scenes felt boring.
What I enjoyed a lot here, apart from character development, are the flashbacks presented as Choice recalled the past. They were very well written and moved at a nice pace. The more the past of Choice was revealed, the more I wanted to discover. The same goes with how the past fit smoothly with Hardcase’s search for answers. It’s really great writing done by Hudnall.
No doubt about it. Hardcase #10 is a great read! It has almost no superhero spectacle but the story, characterization, suspense and intrigue all more than made up for it. Other than exploring the deepening relationship between the Hollywood ultra and Choice, this comic book is one of the most defining stories about the secret organization Aladdin and what it has been doing behind the scenes. How Aladdin is portrayed, you really have to read the comic book and I assure you all, it is worth discovering on your own!
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $11.
Overall, Hardcase #10 (1994) is highly recommended!
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