Erik Bitmanis and Ross Zucco are back with their second issue of their noir-ish cyberpunk title, Hard Wyred. Having set us up for a Matrix-like ride with a smart-mouthed, action-oriented hero who seems to have very little control over the rollercoaster that his life has become over these two issues, this team drops some more of their acerbic wit peppered with a surprisingly deft and subtle world building that drops us down quite the rabbit hole. This time around, there’s a lot more action than chuckles, but it’s not a ratio that’s displeasing at all. In fact, it allows the humor to truly become more integrated into the piece and actually makes the whole issue sing.
Bitmanis has a very specialized voice; there’s a significant direction he’s looking at taking the story that shines through brilliantly. I feel like he hasn’t let us truly meet our hero yet, while populating the world with vibrant and luminous personalities that surround him. It’s a bit of a sitcom at the moment, where he’s at the mercy of things happening to him rather than because of him. I feel that this will set us up for a big shift once he’s able to catch his breath and take ownership of his story. I really enjoy the fun and bravado of this work. It’s just oddball enough to not take itself seriously in a way that would be a bore. This is the kind of book that can be enjoyed by anyone, even those burned out on typical action titles because there’s a real joy to the whole work.
Zucco continues to impress with his artwork. The fluidity of the story works so well because of the nature of his work. The pencils are remarkable and his inking is really expressive. There’s nothing as groundbreaking as the elevator sequence from the first issue (This is not a knock; I just like it so damn much that I want to talk about it all the time.), but the work is so consistently interesting that you don’t really need things like that. The composition and movement are excellent, really propelling the action forward and working seamlessly with the text. The characters that I’ve been enjoying so much have been designed really well, with movements and a core understanding of how bodies move that adds an extra level to the solid work on display here.
I really have great fun reading this title. They’re telling a simple story very well and know where the fun lies within it. It’s a good way to kick back and enjoy a silly read that knows exactly what it is and revels in it. The talent behind the book is phenomenal, and I’m not only excited to see where this story takes them, but any other projects they may do.
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