So long, Dakota-with bridges burned and allies abandoned, Curtis Metcalf is on the move! He’s tracked down Edwin Alva’s former partner, Asher Sim, in Singapore to get the truth about their early days…and find some leverage he can use. But can Sim be trusted? Or is he as dangerous as Alva?
The 3rd installment of DC Comics’ Hardware takes the reader out of Dakota and with it, the plot. At this point, the general plot of Hardware stems as a side effect from the Big Bang covered in Static Shock, another Milestone series. Because of this, Hardware is more in line with the ‘Whodunit’ genre with a super heroic mask in regards to Dakota’s Big Bang, When it comes to that genre a big part after finding out who is why. That is where is this issue picks up at, but drags its feet.
Writer Brandon Thomas has toned down the superheroes aspect of the comics by making Hardware more akin to a low-budget Iron Man and constantly in need of suit repairs. As much as this demonstrates Curtis’ intelligence, it really hinders the plot. Curtis’ need to repair his suit takes more time than what is spent finding answers. By the third issue mark, the reader we should know more than we already do. And while it reads as though Brandon is trying to tell a mystery, the pausing every few pages to remind us this is a superhero comic makes the title suffer.
Another way that Hardware in action is similar to Iron Man is that there seems to be more of an emphasis on hand-to-hand combat. So the action isn’t bad, and it doesn’t drag-on or lack creativity, though it can get repetitive, especially when it’s used to slow down the plot. I can’t think of a single action sequence, outside of the first issue, that moves the plot forward. And now that this third issue has done the same as the second issue, regarding its use of action, I think it’s safe to say we’re looking at the action merely being a plot-slowing trend. The whole crux of this issue is Curtis finding Asher Sims for help against Alva.
Asher derails this with a needless fight taking time away from what is the real interest; Why did Alva have a hang in the Big Bang?
Final Verdict of Hardware #3
Everything has been in place to make this a great whodunit here. The hero is on the run trying to clear his name with sprinklings of shadowy corporate intrigue. Cowan’s artwork is suitably gritty here. And although I grow weary of the action slowing down the plot, I can still tentatively recommend this title as it has so far turned out to be the strongest of the Milestone titles right now.
If you’d like to buy this title you can do so here or check with your local comic shop.