There is no spoon, but there’s lots of ice cream.
In The Matrix, Keanu Reaves went on a quest of self-discovery that was laden with import, high tension, and the fate of the damn world hanging in the balance. Hard Wyred is a lot like that, but with much more “I know Kung Fu” and less “I would know the One because I’d love him.” It’s what would have happened if James Gunn had directed The Matrix instead of the Wachowskis. Don’t get me wrong, that film is a classic and a paragon of the form, but it’s fun to watch these guys turn the basics and go sideways with it.
Erik Bitmanis (whose first name I love and last name seems the basis of his protagonist’s playful surname) has morphed a few good ideas into a funny and nuanced book. The playfulness that permeates every page lightens an otherwise tropey story and makes for some great tongue-in-check witticisms that would rival Big Trouble in Little China (another cinematic masterpiece) with solid snarky one liners being tossed about with the same accuracy as a bullet storm. After reading countless origin books, exposition is sometimes hard to stomach, but he takes a great approach that not only delves deeper into the laughs but also really drives home the tone and intelligence that we should expect going forward. This is a good book that will be a delight for avid readers, lightening the mood of the typical action card and recalling why they used to be called “funny books.”
Ross Zucco seems to be having as much fun with the world as Bitmanis does, embellishing gags and layering his own in. There’s a page dedicated to an elevator ride that’s really spectacular; the layout is brilliant and filled with wonderfully oddball touches that just makes me happy to see. Every time the script goes Cuckoo for Coco Puffs, Zucco is there justifying it and ladling his own wonderful style to it. The sense of fun definitely carries into his work as well.
This seems like a good team of two guys who have a solid idea and are just running with it. It’s smart enough to make even the most jaded crack a smile, and it’s a series that I could see myself unwinding with every week or so. It’s slapschticky fun at its best.
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