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Hey comic book geeks and superhero enthusiasts! Are you ready for another trip back to the Ultraverse through the stories of Hardcase? Before getting there, I should state that the last Hardcase comic book I reviewed ended in a very intriguing way.
To find out more what followed, here is a look back at Hardcase #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Steve Carr.
The story begins with Tom Hawke/Hardcase wondering if he is turning insane. He went through a lot lately such as getting targeted by Aladdin for elimination, learning that a portion of Linda’s brain was taken by Aladdin via operation, and his new lover Choice (who has the mentioned part of Linda’s brain in her) just vanished in front of him and Lela Cho/Tech (of The Solution) who seated near him.
Lela tries to calm him down and shares to him that she herself went through a whole lot of trouble which made her form her team. Hardcase is concerned that Choice could be in danger already. Lela reminds him of what happened during their time on the moon. She states that there is something out there, a flat world. Hardcase speculates that someone from out there could have taken Choice away…
Compared to issue #13, the storytelling in this comic book went back to build-up tension and suspense for future developments waiting to happen. When it comes to characterization, you will find Hardcase being without a partner for the first time since the early issues of the series. This also resulted some short but notably dramatic scenes that further developed Hardcase’s personality. As this was written by the late James Hudnall, there is more crossing-over between Hardcase and a few members of The Solution which is pretty good creative move.
When it comes to the art, Steve Carr did a good job visualizing the characters. His art is a radical change from that of Kelly Krantz in issue #13.
To put straight, Hardcase #14 will appeal to fans who don’t mind the lack of action (like issue #13) for as long as the Hollywood hero became more prominent and his personality developed further. If you are wondering what happened to Choice, you’ll have to search elsewhere in the Ultraverse. Also there is continued build-up behind the scenes setting up gradually (yet again) the inevitable rematch between Hardcase and a certain nemesis from the past.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $13.
Overall, Hardcase #14 (1994) is recommended.
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