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Review – Die Hard Year One #3 (Boom! Studios, 2009)

Like all good stories, some elements need to be teased out as the reader goes along with the plot. With this issue of Die Hard Year One, some of the pieces start fitting together until, by the time we get to the final pages, the picture is looking more and more complete – and it is not a pretty scenario for John McClane and Rosie Haskell (the girl who, in issue 2, was in the worst place at that the worst time).

McClane tends to make a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the movies have more than demonstrated. In this issue, just by doing his job, he finds himself in a deadly scenario with a frightened young girl to try and protect. The plotting builds this up nicely, and the finale, with McClane striking back against a team of crooked cop hijackers, is claustrophobic and tense. And pretty exciting too…

One slight negative is the rendering of Haskell – she constantly seems to have her mouth agape, for no particular good reason, and seems more of a ‘dizzy blonde’ than she really needs to. Sure, she is a ‘damsel in distress’, but the rather vacant expressions she pulls is a bit of a distraction – and slightly comedic (surely not the intention). Some nice retro fashion depicted in the art though – and those hairstyles (all flicks and bangs) are great.

Another strong episode. Not a lot more to say than that.

Die Hard Year One #3 is out today (25th November) from Boom!

Boom! Studios kindly provided a digital copy of this issue for review.

Review – Die Hard Year One #2 (Boom! Studios, 2009)

A John McClane ‘Origins’ / ‘Year One’ book, exploring his life as a cop prior to the Nakatomi Plaza hostage crisis. Sounds like a great idea, and actually lives up to its promise. A greasy, corrupt New York is laid bare, with McClane as the rookie cop, fresh from the Marines, dealing with flashers and amorous older women, all the time biting his tongue until he has ‘grooves worn in’ as he regularly gets his balls busted by his training officer, Ken Bingham.

Elsewhere Rosie Haskell, a pretty Blonde girl from a small town, is really having a day to forget, as a ‘New York minute’ places her in the wrong place at the wrong time, on the Island of Manhattan. She sees 2 cops – Peter Noonan and Russ Ciardello – in a comprimising situation with a body in an alley. That is not the problem – the problem is when they see her, watching them….

McClane and Haskell are going to cross paths soon – but that is not for this issue. The scene is being set up for that encounter, as killer corrupt cops are ready to pounce on Haskell as soon as she breaks cover.

Written by Howard Chaykin, the series is really capturing the spirit of the McClane character, with his quick wit and regular-guy attitude. The art by Stephen Thompson effortlessly captures the flavours of day to day New York hustle and bustle, and also manages to convince with a good portrayal of a younger McClane. The language is authentic, the scenario gripping and the issues skips along with little drag. A good ten to fifteen minutes of your time well spent – and what more justification do you need for investing in a comic book?

Finally, a quick nod to UK artist Jock (2000AD / Vertigo’s ‘The Losers’) who does the ‘b’ cover – and what a treat it is – McClane remodelled as a shaggy haired Dirty Harry with a New York sunset in the background. Love it!

‘Die Hard Year One’ #2 is out tomorrow (28th October) from Boom!

Boom! Studios kindly provided a digital copy of this issue for review.