Hudlin Entertainment

Milestone’s Hardware Just Proved He’s More Like Kang the Conqueror Than Iron Man

Hardware has commonly been compared to Iron Man, but his recent behavior makes him more like the MCU’s newest villain, Kang the Conqueror.

Hardware is one of the many Milestone heroes who’ve been brought back following the publisher’s return in the past few years. A technological genius who fights crime in a suit of armor, he’s known for occupying the status of an Iron Man stand-in within the Milestone Universe. While this normally might be true, his newest adventure sees him taking on aspects of another, more villainous Marvel character.

Kang the Conqueror, who’s now debuting on the big screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is known for traveling back and forth through time. Icon vs. Hardware #1 (by Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, Christopher Sotomayor, and Andworld Design) sees Curtis Metcalf not only start a rivalry with Dakota’s greatest hero but also create a disturbing chronal dissonance. Here’s how Hardware wears a new metaphorical armor that’s similar to the villain of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Milestone’s Hardware is Traveling Through Time

The series’ first issue begins with Hardware researching Icon, who he’s incredibly mistrustful of, despite his supposed heroism. Looking into him through the dark web, he uncovers information on “Augustus Freeman’s” past life as a freed slave and veritable Renaissance man. This leads Curtis Metcalf to uncover other lost information on his target, including a supposed time machine of his that had been locked away by the U.S. government. Though he questioned the device’s validity, he began tinkering with it, eventually using it to send a rabbit back in time.

Finally content with using the device himself, Hardware travels back in time to see if he can convince his father to not walk out on his family. This doesn’t have much of an effect on the future, however, with Metcalf pledging to think bigger. The hero’s next target is his former boss, Edwin Alva, to prevent him from using an experimental gas of Curtis’ creation to inadvertently cause the rise of Dakota’s Bang Babies. The result is Alva’s early death, with Curtis Metcalf taking over his company. Even then, however, superhumans still rise, only to be used as soldiers and living weapons. Somehow cognizant of his tampering with the time stream, Icon approaches Hardware, clearly upset by his actions.

Hardware Has Now Become Milestone’s Kang the Conqueror

Using time travel, namely through alien means, is somewhat outside Hardware’s usual wheelhouse. The actions remain steeped in his usual premise of getting back at Edwin Alva, but it’s also quite a step-up for someone with typically more grounded means. It makes him very much like Kang the Conqueror, who’s far more villainous than Hardware’s usual heroic counterpart Iron Man. Obviously, Kang is known for time-traveling, something which he uses against foes such as the Avengers and especially the Fantastic Four. Likewise, Hardware cares absolutely little about any ramifications of what he’s doing, even stating that he’s not concerned about a butterfly effect. If anything, he sees his time travel as justified, with the result potentially making the world a better place.

Of course, this would mainly benefit Curtis himself by way of saving his family and preventing his being associated with Alva’s biggest mistake. Such self-centered “heroism” falls in line with the ambitions of Kang, who also has no regard for what happens to others. On the other hand, Iron Man/Tony Stark’s biggest point of characterization is that he recognizes what his actions and technology do to others, inspiring him to use them in more tactful ways. Thus, the armored suits might be the only things he and Hardware have in common at the end of the day. Hardware’s suit even resembles Kang’s mask and costume more than it does Iron Man’s. Given this lack of regard for responsible stewardship of the timestream, it’s no wonder Icon is in conflict with Hardware.

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Here’s a list of movies, television shows and books I’ve made over the years that will enlighten and entertain you all month long!


My latest award-winning film is available on apple plus.  If you haven’t seen it, I promise you will be moved and find out more about a great man no matter how much you think you know about him.  


This film documents a man that connected music, politics, and business (legal and otherwise) in a way that made so much Black history possible…and very deliberately, no one knows who he is, except for every famous person you do know about.  Available on Netflix.


This three-episode docuseries available on Amazon charts the rise of Black comedy from all Black comedy clubs to the mainstream of the entertainment business.  See how your favorite comedians became who they are and how they changed both show business to society at large. 


This documentary on HBOMAX tells the story of the rise, fall, and resurrection of the first Black comic book company, Milestone Media.  Usually, I’m the one telling the story, but in this one, I am one of the subjects as one of partners responsible for Static Shock, Icon, and Rocket and so many more great superheroes. 


I’ve always felt that Thurgood Marshall was an underrated figure in our culture, as important to our advancement as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X because he was the only one who lead the fight for justice in the courtroom.  When I got to make this film, starring the late great Chadwick Boseman and the dream cast of Sterling K. Brown, Josh Gad, and Kate Hudson, it was a great experience and is Chadwick’s most popular film outside of his Black Panther appearances.  


For 11 years, I have produced the preeminent celebration of Black excellence in film, television, music, literature, and theater.  This year it airs February 25th on CBS, BET and other networks.  


I’ve done four editions of reviving great music by Black composers and artists for Black cinema at the best music venue in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Bowl.  The Bowl orchestra along with an amazing array of guests artists like Earth Wind and Fire, Charlie Wilson, El DeBarge, Common, Snoop Dogg, Lalah Hathaway, Kid and Play, Pubic Enemy, Jennifer Holiday, Bebe Winans, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Warren G, En Vogue, Maya Rudolph, and so many others have performed amazing shows while awesome movie clips play.  You got to feel it to believe it. 


Building on the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Christopher Priest, my version of BLACK PANTHER is the most popular version of the character.  It’s the template for the feature films.  It is also the basis of the animated series I wrote and produced.  It’s available on Amazon.


When I was a kid I loved all kinds of comics. Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Harvey, Thunder…I read them all.  But when I came across a series of Black History comics, my world was rocked.  As I have worked in the industry, my determination of doing books like that has only grown.  My partner Denys felt the same way so we made MILESTONES IN HISTORY, using Milestone heroes to “host” a book about some of the greatest super heroes in the real world, like Hannibal of Carthage, Kathrine Dunham, Eve, the Queen of Sheba, Alexander Dumas, Mae Jemison, Prince, and Eve, the first human on Earth.  

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DC Comics Preview: Icon vs. Hardware #1

David Brooke | AIPT Comics

Icon vs. Hardware – ‘Worlds Collide’ When two of the Dakotaverse’s core superheroes clash in a new five-issue limited series.

Two titans of the Milestone Universe clash — and in the process, set in motion a chain of events leading to a story bigger than you could ever imagine! When Hardware discovers a long-suppressed time machine hidden in a government warehouse, his obsession with righting the wrongs of the past — those of both American history and his own tragic family — will unravel the fabric of time for the Milestone Universe. But while there are many problems with Hardware’s plan, there’s one big one: wherever he goes in America’s last two centuries, Icon is there, having lived through it! And a man as powerful as Icon knows the profound danger of the forces Curtis Metcalf is unleashing…and he’ll do whatever it takes to put the genie back in the bottle!

Icon Vs Hardware is the official kickoff of Act One of Milestone’s WORLDS COLLIDE event—and if you think you know what that phrase means, you’d better not get overconfident! This is the ideal jumping-on point for those who’ve sat out the story of Dakota so far, because this ride is headed somewhere unexpected!

Icon vs. Hardware #1

Writers: Leon Chills and Reggie Hudlin
Artist: Denys Cowan
Cover: Canaan White and Chris Sotomayor
Homage Cover: Denys Cowan
Release Date: February 14, 2023

For more on Icon vs. Hardware, read the press release below:

Eagle-eyed DC fans that picked up Icon & Rocket: Season One and Milestones In History got the first hint that a clash between two of the Dakotaverse’s heavyweights was just a matter of time. Round one of that showdown begins on Tuesday, February 14 with Icon vs. Hardware #1, and DC’s got your first look at final covers and some great interior artwork!

To learn more about the world outside of Dakota and prepare her for her role in running the world when he returns to Terminus, Augustus Freeman, a.k.a. Icon, sends Rocket (Raquel Ervin) to an exclusive boarding school, where she meets new friends and has her “mean girls” suspicions quickly confirmed. Meanwhile, Hardware, armed with a time machine created by inventor Benjamin Banneker, plans to go back in time to prevent The Big Bang from ever happening, with absolutely no concerns about how his actions will impact the time stream. Along the way, Hardware uncovers secrets about himself and the Metcalf family, and his actions will undoubtedly put him on a collision course with Icon in the present day. 

Icon Vs Hardware is the official kickoff of Act One of Milestone’s WORLDS COLLIDE event—and if you think you know what that phrase means, think again! This is the ideal jumping-on point for those who’ve sat out the story of Dakota thus far, because this ride is headed somewhere completely unexpected! 

This five issue series reunites icon & Rocket: Season One co-writers Leon Chills and Reggie Hudlin, and artist and Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan, and the debut issue also features the DC debut of artist Yasmin Flores Montanez from The Milestone Initiative. Issue #1 features a main cover by Rahzzah, with the main variant cover by Canaan White and Chris Sotomayor, plus a 1 in 25 ratio variant “homage” cover by Denys Cowan.

For the latest details on DC and Milestone, visit the DC website at, and follow @DCComics and @thedcnation on social media. The DC UNIVERSE INFINITE digital subscription platform includes an incredible selection of DC and Milestone titles, including the original runs of Static, Static Shock, Icon, Hardware, and Blood Syndicate, plus the complete runs of Static: Season One, Icon & Rocket: Season One, and Blood Syndicate: Season One. For more information and a free trial, check out the website at DC UNIVERSE INFINITE is not available in all countries and not intended for children.

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