A Look Back at Hardcase #3

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.

I love it when improvements in comic books are pulled off in terms of writing, art and creativity.

Let’s start this look back at Hardcase #3, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 under the Ultraverse banner with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Jim Callahan.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Mexico. To the surprise of armed, armored personnel, an explosion happened and Choice emerges. It turns out this was footage from the recent past being reviewed by two men in suits. They are aware that Choice is in California and has teamed up already with Hardcase. They speculate that the two are making their way to corporate headquarters.

The shadowy figure, a man who is not a man, in the room makes a decision.

“I’ve decided to provide you with some help for two reasons. One: I want to see Hardcase fall. Two: I want to test out a band of ultra-assassins I’ve concocted,” he said.

Elsewhere, Hardcase tells a police office that they were attacked. A man named Chuck arrives to talk to Hardcase. He is a friend of the sheriffs of Ventura and offers to help. Hardcase introduces him to Choice and tells him that armed assassins were after her to force her to return to the Choice corporation.

Suddenly, very eager TV news crews arrived to get the scoop compelling Choice and Hardcase to leave. What the two do not know is that they are being watched…..

Quality

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Notable improvement on the art.

In describing the quality of this comic book, I am happy to say that the fun, engagement and strong creativity is back. This is definitely a major improvement over Hardcase #2.  For one thing, artist Jim Callahan returned to do the artwork and brought back the visual fun and flair of issue #1. There is a lot of action scenes in this comic book and each page is nicely drawn by Callahan. Nice impact on the hard blows too.

In terms of writing, James Hudnall did a good job balancing the spectacle with the narrative and characterization. The way Hudnall deepened the plot with intriguing new details is very solid, and he cleverly pulled off some twists here and there.

Conclusion

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Choice in action.

Hardcase #3 is a good comic book and it more than made up for the lackluster story in issue #2. It should be noted that this comic book efficiently links Hardcase with other elements of the Ultraverse’ shared universe, plus the final page delivered an excellent conclusion.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #3, 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 #3 is recommended.


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

A Look Back at Hardcase #1

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Hardcase #1’s cover has always been very captivating to look at.

Released in mid-1993 from Malibu Comics under its Ultraverse line of superhero comic books, Hardcase #1 introduced readers to Tom Hawke who is an actor who went from a wanna-be to a celebrity. The story – written by James Hudnall and drawn by Jim Callahan – is not that simple and took a layered approach to presenting the protagonist’s exploits.

The comic book starts with a deeply hurt Tom Hawke (who was not yet Hardcase) whose three teammates D.J. Blast, Forsa and Starburst (his love interest) were being killed by a large robotic enemy whose head, jaw and color eerily resembled that of Xenomorphs in the Alien movies popularized by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

In a desperate effort, D.J. Blast charged himself up to cause a desperate powerful explosion to destroy the enemy but not before Hawke took Starburst with him and jumped far away to escape the blast.

Unsurprisingly survival became hollow for Hawke as he struggled not only to recover from his injury but also deal with the critical condition of Starburst whose doctor confirmed that she sustained serious brain damage and that she was unlikely to recover.

Filled with grief and even guilt, Hawke struggled to change for the better and by utilizing his superhuman talent he eventually went into showbiz as an actor. In the present he got into making movies (during which he wore the costume that defined him in the comics), earning lots of money and talking with varied showbiz professionals on projects.

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Hardcase doing movie production work.

While life became more progressive, Hawke still was not at peace with himself deep inside. As he signed an autograph for a policeman’s son, he revealed that he was just lucky being the only survivor when his team – The Squad – met its tragic end and that even as an ultra himself, he felt that he was not any good in a serious crisis. Feeling guilty, he admitted he let his friends down.

Analytically, the creative team did nice a job fleshing out Hardcase from his days with The Squad to the present as an actor in good demand. The approach of showing him struggle with guilt over the tragedy that claimed two friends’ lives and disabling his love interest is pretty unique and at the same time engaging to read. In this way, Hardcase is a superhero who is not exactly the happy and stable figure to the public but one whose life is imperfect and having no choice but to pay the price of life through a major disaster that hurt him physically and on the heart. Not even the success and promising opportunities of showbiz could lift his spirit. Truly this guy really lived up to his name – Hardcase!

Even with his special powers, Hardcase still doubts himself in relation to dealing with big matters.

He said it best on page 11 – “Even if I am an Ultra, that doesn’t mean I’m any good in a serious crisis. I let my friends down…let them down in a big way.”

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On other matters, the comic book had plenty of action and that includes some gruesome and bloody scenes. Not only that the transition from one scene to another was smooth and well paced.

Safe to say Hardcase is the flawed and struggling hero that people of different walks of life can relate with. For this concept alone brilliantly done by Hudnall and Callahan, Hardcase #1 is highly recommended for all comic collectors. It is a superhero comic book that succeeds in engaging me each time I read it.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to your fellow comic book geeks and Ultraverse fans. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format for you to order.

Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version. 

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