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As you know by now, I really love following the stories of the Hardcase series of the Ultraverse published by Malibu Comics. Issue #12 had a very intriguing conclusion which gave the first fully year of the series a worthy ending (one that will compel readers to go back to issue #1 and search the origin story of Hardcase and The Squad) while setting up the anticipation for the next story in a compelling way.
As such, here is my look back at Hardcase #13 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Kelly Krantz.
The story begins with Hardcase and Choice agonizing over the shocking revelation from Lela Cho /Tech (The Solution) who helped them access crucial information they worked so hard searching. What they do not know is that they are constantly spied on by sinister figures.
“I knew it! I knew it! Those scum-sucking weasels! I’ll kill them,” said Hardcase in reaction to the shocking information. Lela Cho tries to calm him down as Choice agonizes on her knees.
As their emotions eased, Lela prepares her computer for their research of the highly detailed files that Aladdin has about them…
To make things clear, this comic book’s narrative is dominated by information-heavy references presented like computer files with accompanying images. There is actual little present-day story regarding Hardcase and Choice but that’s not a problem as the heavy exposition of background stories relating to Choice, Aladdin, Hardcase and others are very well written by Hudnall. By the time I finished the story, I got enlightened and also excited for the next story of Hardcase.
What I love about the heavy exposition was how it efficiently explained the details and completely avoided getting boring. The exposition also emphasized the specific roles Aladdin, the Choice Corporation, Ultratech and NuWare had in the Ultraverse and how they impacted the lives of people. This is comic book universe building crafted excellently by Hudnall.
The best way to describe Hardcase #13 is that it is an exposition-heavy, characterization-focused story that succeeded in its goal of enlightening the reader. James Hudnall’s writing is excellent which, by this time, is not surprising to me. As such, this comic book is worth reading more than once and like issue #12, it will compel you to go back to issue #1 and look deeper at the background of Hardcase and his time with The Squad.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #13 (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 #13 (1994) is highly recommended!
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