Hardcore No. 3 review: How to nuke Air Force One in four easy steps


Non-stop action is par for the course in Hardcore.

Sometimes a comic will set you up for a slow burn, with much hinting of things that lead up to an inevitable conclusion, while dragging things out to build suspense. Hardcore is the opposite of that. The suspense begins immediately, and constant explosions and gunshots and car chases only heighten that sense of peril, and somehow the concept doesn’t seem over the top. From writer Andy Diggle, with brilliant art by Alessandro Vitti, colors by Adriano Lucas, letters by Thomas Mauer and a cover from the fantastic Dan Panosian, based on an idea from Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri, comes the story of Drake, a government operative who performs the unique task of mentally taking over a subject’s body for 72 hours, via an implantable device, to use their body to conduct assassinations and other acts that destabilize criminals, worldwide. Unfortunately for Drake, a disgruntled tech designer has seized the facility where the Hardcore program is headquartered and plans to do very bad things to lots of people.

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It’s hard to escape when everyone thinks you’re someone else

In the last issue of Hardcore, Agent Drake, in the body of Esteban, a top enforcer for a Latin American dictator, was confronted by the dictator’s wife, whom Esteban is having an affair with. She knows something is off about Esteban. This issue picks up where the last one left off, with Drake vaguely explaining that Esteban is helping to murder her husband, which convinces her right away. The two head to find the SEAL team that placed the implant in Esteban, since they might be able to get Drake and the Colonel’s wife to safety, which involves getting on a private plane. Unbeknownst to them, the guy who took the HARDCORE program hostage has notified the dictator and most of the program’s operatives, and the evac crew ends up shooting rockets at Drake and company, eventually blowing up the plane they were to have absconded in.

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Hardcore shows how to blow up Air Force One

The American President is informed that the HARDCORE program has gone rogue, but due to misinformation, he believes Agent Drake is the one responsible. Concerned about the location of the missing nuke from the first issue, he chews out his command team for such a flagrant mistake, when the jet fighter escorting Air Force One notifies the plane that a drone is heading straight for it. Since it won’t stop, the jet fires a missile at it, noticing that it has the missing nuke attached to it moments too late. The nuke goes off in front of Air Force One, it blinds one of the pilots, the plane’s electronics are fried, and then the plane carrying the leader of the USA explodes. The four easy steps are 1) steal a nuke, 2) put the nuke on a drone, 3) aim the drone at Air Force One, and 4) let the military shoot the drone down, activating the nuke. Voila, you’ve nuked Air Force One.

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This was another excellent issue, although there is some debate about whether shooting a nuke would cause it to actually go nuclear, rather than just be a dirty bomb. Either way, it looks like the chain of command has taken a serious blow, and anyone left alive thinks it’s Agent Drake’s fault. The next issue is sure to be just as exciting and explosive as this one. 9/10, recommend. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.