Hardware: Season One #1 Reintroduces the Classic Character with a Bang
Thomas, Cowan, and Sienkiewicz present an action-packed and thought-provoking story that’s sure to put Milestone Comics’ Hardware on everyone’s radar.
BY DUSTIN HOLLANDPUBLISHED AUG 17, 2021
Following the reboots of his Milestone Comics compatriots Static and Icon and Rocket, Hardware returns in Brandon Thomas, Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Chris Sotomayor, and Rob Leigh’s Hardware: Season One #1. The creative team conjures up the sensational nature of the original series while adding a contemporary sense of urgency to its proceedings. Overall, Hardware: Season One #1 is an excellent first issue.
Hardware: Season One #1 begins after the events of Milestone Returns: Infinite Edition Zero by Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Bill Sienkiewicz, Chris Sotomayor, ChrisCross, Juan Castro, Wil Quintana, and Andworld Design. Alva Industries lands in hot water when an experimental crowd control gas they developed horribly injuries and mutates the people of Dakota at a Black Lives Matter protest. Edwin Alva, the nefarious head of the company, blames the incident on a brilliant young scientist named Curtis Metcalf; however, Curtis has no tolerance for being punished for a crime he didn’t commit. So, he puts on a suit of high-tech armor and becomes Hardware: a man on the run fighting for justice.
Hardware: Season One #1 is narrated by both Metcalf as well as his enemy/former benefactor, Edwin Alva. Brandon Thomas brilliantly contrasts their opposing points of view and attitudes in a way that makes their conflict feel simultaneously deeply personal and representative of a larger social conflict. By using two narrators, Thomas is able to provide a substantial amount of background information while throwing readers into the thick of things and establishing two central characters. By the time Hardware and Alva actually speak to each other, readers are already intimately familiar with their building tension, which makes their conversation feel even more climactic than the explosive action that defines much of the issue.
Denys Cowan, who penciled the original ’90s Hardware, is joined by his longtime collaborator Bill Sienkiewicz who inks the issue. The two seasoned artists bring the same dynamic style they developed together in the pages of The Question to Hardware: Season One. Their lines are at once precise and frantic. This aesthetic suits the fast pace and emotional intensity of the narrative. Metcalf is on the run for the duration of this issue, and the dense, ink-splattered pages convey a sense of anxiety and motion that will put the reader on the edge of their seat. At times, the action sequences can be chaotic and difficult to follow, but a second glance is always enough to make sense of things, and the confusion is in keeping with the comic’s tone. And, even when the action isn’t as clear as it could be, the pages are beautifully composed.
At first glance, Hardware: Season One #1 is a page-turning action-adventure. It is a thrilling read. But, both the writing and the art merit a closer look. Each page is filled to the brim with complex and intriguing ideas that will be bouncing around in the reader’s mind long after they’ve finished reading. Hardware: Season One #1 is so much more than a reboot of the original series. It is the beginning of something entirely new and remarkably exciting.