Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Hard Place #2 Review

One the Hard Way

Written by: Doug Wagner
Art by: Nic Rummel and Charlie Kirchoff
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 27, 2017
Publisher: Image
Review By: Andrew McAvoy

This issue of The Hard Place treads similar terrain to many bank robbery films viewed over the years; although perhaps best to think along the botch-job heists of Hell or High Water more than the slick precision of Denzel in The Inside Man. 

We open this issue mid-way through the robbery in question and it's not looking good for AJ Gurney, a criminal hoping to straighten out who has found himself mixed up in the situation. Recognized by the robbers he is framed on the CCTV as being an accomplice to the crime. As the two robbers make their exit from the blood soaked bank, they use AJ's skills as a getaway driver and a random rich girl that they pluck from the bank's customers as a hostage screen.

Using the girl as a human shield they make their exit past the cops and rely upon AJ's former vocation as a getaway driver to make their escape. He hotwires a high end vehicle and they bust a move past the cops. AJ knows that it isn't looking good for either him or his hostage passenger as their two captors reveal their identities. He knows that means they won't be planning on keeping either of them around for long. 

The other narrative in the book takes place among the relatives of the two hostages. Firstly, AJ's family and friends struggle with the TV news reports that he is acting as a getaway driver. They can't reconcile those reports with the AJ that they know, that they knew was determined to go on the straight and narrow. The more interesting angle is the interaction with the girl's father Maksim Sidorov, who calls her cell phone, which is answered by the two robbers. They ain't too pleasant to him, and given Mr Sidorov's shady background, one thinks this is a decision the robbers may come to regret. 

This book shows some potential for future issues, but for me it all seems a bit lukewarm, with a plot snatched from several 100 B-Movies. Now there's a reason why that formula is so tried and tested in the movies, but in comics I like to see the medium pushed a little to do what TV and Movies can't. The art doesn't help in this feeling either: it is all a bit angular and the color tones are muted and muddy. I would have liked to have seen more of the color used in the cover art. 

Bits and Pieces:

There may be some merit in this series as it continues but for me, as things stand, this issue just isn't doing it for me. 


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