In 2012, Hardcore was created by Marc Silvestri and Robert Kirkman as a one-shot "pilot," with Brian Stelfreeze (Black Panther) doing the art. The premise was introduced with a killer cliffhanger, but the story lay dormant until now.
Now Image Comics / Skybound's has revived the series with a new first issue of Hardcore written by Andy Diggle (Losers) and drawn by Alessandro Vitti (Red Lanterns, Iceman). Their collaboration evokes the '80s and '90s eras of action films. It's sleek, sexy, and explodes out of the blocks into an all-out sprint. Hardcore #1 comes out today, but SYFY WIRE has the exclusive preview of Hardcore #2, which will come out January 23, 2019.
Drone technology is taken to the extreme as spies are able to control enemies of the state by remote control with implants. But when a routine Hardcore mission goes wrong, can its top agent Drake get back to his body before the implant biodegrades and dies?
"Robert made it clear that I was free to reinvent the concept from the ground up," Diggle exclusively told SYFY WIRE. "But that pilot issue was great, so I only made a few minor changes here and there. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I never got any notes on what should happen beyond the first issue to get Drake out of his predicament, so I just grabbed the ball and ran with it."
"One of my favourite things is plotting out complex capers, heists, impossible missions… and then throwing a spanner in the works and seeing if the heroes can extricate themselves. We had a lot of fun pulling those kind of shenanigans in The Losers, James Bond, and Thief of Thieves, and Hardcore is very much in that spirit, albeit with slightly more of a sci-fi edge."
Vitti too looked through action films to inspire cinematic angles for the action sequences. He looked to Pacific Rim for the interior of Hardcore capsule, but had stacks of Akira comics by Katsuhiro Otomo and the art of Travis Charest to fuel his creativity.
"As soon as Alessandro’s art started coming in, it was clear he has a great gift for kinetic, dynamic, action-driven visually storytelling," Diggle shared about his collaborator. "For me, action should always move the story forward, be part of the story. That’s the kind of thing I love to write, so it meant I could really lean into it knowing that I wouldn’t have to 'overexplain' everything. I can trust Alessandro to carry those moments with the visuals."
In our preview for Issue #2, Drake has complications being stuck in Esteban having just woken up next to his boss' wife. With his entire support system down, and 72 hours to live, Drake as Esteban and Lupe shift into overdrive, literally.
"I just wanted to see how pissed off Lupe was going to be when she found out that the person with whom she’d cheated on her husband (her husband being the most dangerous man in the country) wasn’t who he appeared to be," Diggle said. "Lupe’s in even bigger trouble than Drake!"
The hook of the series is the final pages of the first issue, for which Diggle gives Kirkman all the credit. But it's also an exciting point for Diggle and Vitti to take the story in Issue #2.
"I didn’t know how I was going to get Drake out of his predicament, but I knew I’d have fun figuring it out."
Check out SYFY WIRE's exclusive four-page preview of Hardcore #2, and as a bonus, read the first five pages of Hardcore #1 too if you haven't already.