Hardcore No. 2: Nuke heists and getaway Lamborghinis


Hardcore kicks it up a notch in the second issue.

Image Comics is the place to be for exciting, creator-owned stories that aren’t only about heavily-muscled people in Spandex, not that those stories aren’t cool too. Since 1995, Image has been pumping out the jams, and in that fine tradition we now have Hardcore. Writer Andy Diggle, artist Alessandro Vitti, colorist Adriano Lucas, and letterer Thomas Mauer have crafted a high-energy thrill ride, based on an idea by Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri. The premise is this: the government has a program whereby a special agent is able to take control of a target’s body, and pilot them around like a human drone. Simple, yet ingenious.

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Nonstop action is the name of the game in Hardcore

Last issue we were introduced to the Hardcore Program, a government operation in which nanites are shot into unsuspecting hosts, allowing a high-tech array controlled by a specially trained agent to literally control everything the host experiences, for three days. As stated in the previous review, this concept seems perfect for a movie, and no doubt will become one soon. The Hardcore facility was overtaken by the original creator, Markus, who is up to no good, and the Hardcore pilot, Drake, sealed himself inside the array, while inhabiting the body of a South American enforcer 4000 miles away. This issue starts off with Drake planning his escape, along with Lupe, the wife of his host body’s boss, with whom he is having an affair. Markus calls in some goons to cut into the array with a thermic lance, and Drake and Lupe hop into an armored Lamborghini.

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Nuclear weapons and attack helicopters keep Hardcore hardcore

Drake and Lupe are immediately stopped by Lupe’s husband, who has his men fire on the Lambo. It’s armored, so Drake floors it and begins a merry chase, with lots of shooting and car-jumping. They get away initially, and the husband orders a helicopter after them. Meanwhile, Markus has ordered an attack on a ship, which is transporting the nuclear device from the first issue. His squad easily kills everyone on board, steals the radioactive cargo, and blows up the ship. Drake and Lupe are almost into a city, where they can lay low, when the helicopter finds them, firing upon them with much bigger guns than the death squad earlier possessed. Drake flies off-road, into a service tunnel, and orders Lupe out. He jams the gas pedal down and sends the Lambo out, unmanned, which the helicopter promptly destroys. Now that they’re believed dead, they’ll have an an easier time making their way to the Hardcore facility, except that Lupe knows something is up and pulls a gun on Drake, demanding some answers. There the issue ends.

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Boss. Very boss. Something about the premise and constant action hearkens back to Crank, somehow, which is intended as a compliment. Since the nanites only last for three days, Drake is really gonna have to get a move on if he doesn’t want to end up dead, which means a whole bunch of action and killing of bad guys for the readers of Hardcore. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.