Die Hard: Year One #1 Review

Die Hard: Year One #1 Cvr AWhen I first saw this series promoted I thought it was a rather strange choice for a new title from BOOM! Studios. However, they have proven themselves to be the master of gaining audiences with a diverse array of popular franchises. Die Hard: Year One can now stand proudly alongside the other licences in BOOM!’s bow, such as The Incredibles, Farscape, Toy Story, The Muppet Show and others.

Granted this could easily be a generic cop series. The character of John McClane, as faithfully portrayed in the 4 Die Hard films, isn’t necessary here. An original creation could work just as well, but to paraphrase Michael Scott from TV’s The Office, there’s a big difference between the first Die Hard film and 2007’s Die Hard 4.0. The 1988 classic that introduced one of the best action films of all time was a far cry from the Arnie and Sly dominated films in the years before it. New York cop John McClane was just a normal guy who wanted to spend the holidays with his family, until a gathering of Euro-terrorists ruined his plans and forced him to kill bad guys in an increasingly desperate fashion. He was no superhuman, just a poor guy in a vest with bleeding feet. The 2 sequels in the 1990s still kept this underdog persona largely intact, but Die Hard 4.0 was a departure. All of a sudden, McClane was no longer squirming through vents, but was driving cars into helicopters and surfing on the wings of a fighter jet. Sure, it was still an entertaining film, but 19 years after the original it was obvious how far Hollywood’s bloated tendencies, and audience expectations, had come.

So, kudos to BOOM! for bringing McClane back to his humble roots. The Year One tag is a popular one in comics, thanks to Frank Miller’s and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One mini-series in 1987 that explored the origins of the Dark Knight, and was later referenced in Batman Begins. For BOOM! to cast a look back at McClane’s early years as a rookie cop, rather than creating Die Hard 5, or 6 or 7 is a bold choice. It works though, as it distils what audiences so loved about the first film. This first issue (of 4) evokes the reality of the original, rather than the Hollywood veneer of the last sequel and that’s what makes it such a welcome breath of smoggy New York air. Writer Howard Chaykin is an unusual choice for this project, as his usual work veers more to satire and dark humour. He does a splendid job here though and firmly, and easily, establishes the reality of the premise. I can see this series will be like any Robert DeNiro film of the last 15 years – downtrodden cop in a big city facing the chaos around him with wits and a service revolver, but so far it has a certain style and rugged charm.

Die Hard: Year One Cvr BThe art is simple, yet evocative. Similar to the broad, somewhat sketchy style of John Paul Leon, artist Stephen Thompson mires every page with the truth of living and working in one of the world’s busiest cities. It’s never bright, or stylized, just – real. The main character doesn’t necessarily look like Bruce Willis, but if you want to see a younger version of the man himself, you can always check out his new film, Surrogates. Matthew Wilson’s colours show harsh sunshine and crowded streets with relish, and the occasional use of Benday dots give the pages a nice nostalgia. It really looks like 1976, especially with the little touches like the fashions and the old school clock radio effect to show the passing of time.

This premiere ish begins on the morning of July 4 in 1976 and we immediately learn that McClane (who I don’t believe we’ve ever seen in a cop uniform on screen) has presumably fought in the Vietnam War and is now a fresh cop on patrol. Chaykin captures the tone well and sets the grubby ’70s New York scene firmly in place, with both McClane’s captions and those of the unseen narrator, plus the vivid characters scattered throughout the tale, conjuring up a well-paced, never heavy experience. I’m sure the dubious cops, and various characters who briefly appear, such as the rich old guy and scared girl new to the city will all come together and something bad will happen, with McClane caught in the middle. So far, not a lot of McClane is shown, but that’s OK, as the cogs of the story are obviously clicking in to place. This is a tale that is different enough in tone to not only everything else BOOM! puts out, but most of what is on the stands today, that it’s a pleasure to read.

Mark Waid Is Incorruptible

BOOM! Studios “let slip” about this new series during their presentation at Comic-Con this year and now here is the official announcement. Mark Waid’s excellent dark superhero series, Irredeemable is getting a spin-off of sorts. When first I heard the title, I thought it might be a prequel detailing The Plutonian’s descent from heroism to villainy. That’s not the case, but it sounds intriguing enough.

MARK WAID WAS EVIL! MARK WAID IS INCORRUPTIBLE!

THIS DECEMBER BOOM! STUDIOS DEBUTS ANOTHER DEVASTATING ONGOING MARK WAID SUPERHERO SERIES

Incorruptible #1 Cvr AThe Flip Side To This Year’s Break-Out Smash Hit IRREDEEMABLE!

A New Ongoing Series That Asks The Question: What Happens When A Villain Becomes A Hero?

Issue #1 covers by John Cassaday and Tim Sale

Incentive cover by Jeffrey Spokes

Last April BOOM! Studios showed the world that “Mark Waid Is Evil” with the smash hit series IRREDEEMABLE. Now Mark Waid is INCORRUPTIBLE. A new ongoing series launching this December, INCORRUPTIBLE asks the question: What Happens When A Villain Becomes A Hero? Written by Mark Waid and sporting sensational interior art by hot newcomer Neil Edwards (SQUADRON SUPREME) INCORRUPTIBLE features covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN) and Tim Sale (BATMAN: LONG HALLOWEEN).

INCORRUPTIBLE showcases super villain Max Damage, who had an epiphany the day The Plutonian destroyed Sky City. That day, when The Plutonian turned his back on humanity, Max Damage decided to step up. Now Max Damage has changed his name to Max Daring and turned from his formerly selfish ways to become… INCORRUPTIBLE. The flip side to this year’s break-out smash hit IRREDEEMABLE, examining the hard, difficult road to changing your ways and making a difference in the world…

Incorruptible #1 Cvr C“While you don’t need to be reading IRREDEEMABLE to enjoy this new series, INCORRUPTIBLE continues that complex study of caped morality at the end of the world,” says Managing Editor, Matt Gagnon. “Readers will be shown a shockingly different perspective of The Plutionian’s world, where a super-villain, pushed by an insurmountable force, dares to be INCORRUPTIBLE. ”

INCORRUPTIBLE is an ongoing series written by Mark Waid, with sensational interior art by sizzling hot artist Neil Edwards (FARSCAPE). INCORRUPTIBLE #1 ships with two covers in a 50/50 split, featuring art by John Cassaday (IRREDEEMABLE, PLANETARY) and Tim Sale (BATMAN: HAUNTED KNIGHT, HEROES), and also has a 1-in-10 incentive cover by Jeffrey Spokes. INCORRUPTIBLE carries a Diamond Code of OCT090784.

Free Perth Electronics Exhibition

Held at the expansive Perth Convention Centre in Western Australia again this year is G03. It’s an exhibition with free entry that focuses on games, cosplay, tech, manga, anime, etc. Go here for all the details, including the list of exhibitors and special guests, including New Moon’s Chaske Spencer, Star Trek: Enterprise’s Connor Trinneer and David Nykl from Stargate Atlantis. The Expo is on this weekend, October 2-4.

Kill Audio Trailer

In the rapidly growing line-up of musicians creating comics, here comes BOOM!’s Kill Audio, which debuted at this year’s Comic-Con. It’s co-written by Claudio Sanchez of band Coheed and Cambria fame, and features an invincible troll. Brand new trailer, and press release, below.

“KILL AUDIO scratches just the right itch.”

– Joe Casey (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, IRON MAN: THE INEVITABLE)

“This book will scrape the dark matter out of the back of your brain and force feed it back to you.”

– Richard Starkings(ELEPHANTMEN, founder of Comicraft)

KillAudio_01_CVR_ABOOM! Studios announced the debut of a new original trailer to promote Claudio Sanchez’ series KILL AUDIO. Trailer features a sneak peek at an original song inspired by the series. KILL AUDIO #1 will be available at retail in Direct Market comic book stores October 7th.

Claudio Sanchez, the celebrated creator of the COHEED AND CAMBRIA mythology, including the best selling sci-fi mini-series, THE AMORY WARS, is back with an entirely new concept: KILL AUDIO! KILL AUDIO follows the adventures of an immortal little troll who struggles to find purpose in a land where creativity is a controlled substance. When musical creativity spirals into chaos, KILL AUDIO discovers his life mission. Supported by a wildly eccentric posse and a nemesis hell-bent on proving his mortality, KILL AUDIO takes on non-sensical musical sub-genres while traipsing across a vivid landscape, all of which could only come from the intense mind of Claudio Sanchez.

“This is disturbing work, and I mean that as a compliment,” BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid said. “Anyone who’s a fan of THE MAXX or of Robot Chicken should check this out.”

Fans might be familiar with KILL AUDIO from the previously released best-selling vinyl toy. Written by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert, KILL AUDIO features mind-melting art by Harvey Nominated Mr. Sheldon with covers by Mr. Sheldon and Kristian Donaldson of DMZ fame.