Friday, January 30, 2015

The H.A.R.D. Corps #11 and #12 (Classic Valiant)

The superpowered paramilitary team The HARD Corps are once again performing a training simulation on a weapon and obstacle filled street mockup, but this time round, a mysterious man made of ectoplasm is manipulating the streets controls, nearly killing the team. Later, in an effort to find this man, the team goes to an Omen Enterprises (the HARD Corps' bosses) information facility where they believe he's been to before and will appear at again...

These two issues aren't so much a two-parter, but two separate stories connected by a recurring villain. While the first focuses on the protagonists as they struggle to get through the HARD Corps training street as the Otherman takes control of its weapons and obstacles, the second issue develops the villain more, as the team takes the fight to him.

Issue #11 successfully builds up some mystery on the villain, and we find out what his deal is at the end of #12. Unfortunately. this story feels like it should have been a trilogy, as #12 really only feels like the continuation of this story, not the conclusion. It's because of this that I don't take much issue with the fact that it doesn't flesh out the proceedings enough, but since there was never a real end to this story, it's still a bit irksome.

The writing throughout these two issues is good, although there's a confusing scene involving Gunslinger at the start of Issue #12. At first, I thought it was the Otherman, especially since it looked like a bomb had been planted in the Palmer letterbox, but this scene is never brought up again until a later issue, where it's still vague and confusing, and folowing that, it's literally never mentioned again. It's something to do with Charlie's...wife? Ex-wife? Daughter? No idea!

Another annoyance with the writing is that this story is when the word 'Psi-borg' starts getting used as a descriptor for the HARD Corps, which bugs me as I find it to be a stupid name, as well as ill-fitting, since they're not robots!

The characters here are likeable as usual, though none get much development, save for Superstar. As for the villain, he's pretty intriguing, and has an interesting power set! One problem tied to the character is that it's completely different to his later portrayal in other Valiant series The Second Life of Doctor Mirage, to the point where these two Otherman's are basically completely different characters who just so happen to share the same powers, and name.

The art in these issues is very good, minus odd angles, and moments where characters look a little fish-eyed. Issue #11's cover would be very good if it had a background, but unfortunately the blank gradient orange detracts from the decent action. As for #12's, its' better, and nicely dynamic!

This is an entertaining, albeit incomplete story of The HARD Corps, and once again I recommend it...

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