FROM THE PUBLISHER Imagine being able to take over the body of anyone on Earth. Sound crazy? Not for Agent Drake and the Hardcore Program. They can turn any person into a human drone to get to targets that normal soldiers can’t. Drake is the best soldier Hardcore has to offer. But when he gets stranded in a body with only 72 hours to discover who’s hijacked the Program, he’ll have to pull out all the stops against an enemy who could be literally anyone. From the creative minds of ROBERT KIRKMAN and MARC SILVESTRI, and presented by ANDY DIGGLE (THIEF OF THIEVES, Losers) and ALESSANDRO VITTI (Secret Warriors), comes a new Skybound Original that shows you how to save the world without getting your hands dirty
UPGRADE, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, STRANGE DAYS. Movies I thought of while reading Hardcore, from Andy Diggle and Alessandro Vitti. Issue #4, the penultimate issue of the 5 issue series from Skybound and Image Comics, doubles down on the globe trotting action that has really made this series a really fun read.
Drake/Esteban’s back is against the wall; he’s got two plus hours left before his fate is decided by the hardcore tag that has been implanted into his neck. With Lupe (Esteban's mistress) in tow, they hop a plane hoping to get that much closer to the mastermind Markus. Drake and him have a past, to what extent? That hasn't totally been explained. Back-story beats are few and far between. Getting in the way of the story are the explosions and car chase pages, as well the blam blam and brakka brakka of gun fire. But back to Lupe for a minute, in one instance she can handle a gun quite well, backing up Esteban when needed, but as her face shows after she’s been told to jump out of airplane before it is shot down, she’s a bit out of her element, high heels and all. Lupe is concerned about her lover Esteban; she isn't concerned about Drake and his problems with Markus and the American government.
Artwork by Vitti during the airplane jump scene is outstanding, a stand out of the three issues that came before it. Mission Impossible really comes to mind when seeing the plane dipping and diving away from an oncoming missile. The agony in Esteban's face as he’s physically willing the plane to avoid destruction is drawn perfectly.
Markus at the beginning of this issue is holding all the cards, actually antagonizing Drake from just outside the hardcore capsule, really fulfilling the mastermind tag that he thinks he is. But by the end, the script has been flipped; he no longer holds the cards, for Drake/Esteban is holding something a little more explosive.
Issue #4 does a great job of setting up the showdown, even if it does skip on the finer details of story or dialogue. It doesn't skip on action or excitement. Heading into issue #5 the showdown between Markus and Drake that has been building since Drakes apartment in issue #1 will come to a head.