There’s nothing worse than being pulled into your old job by your old boss against your will and then finding out that everyone you ever cared about now works for the other side, amiright? This is where Sam Wyreznowski finds himself in issue three of the cyber-punk adventure, Hard Wyred, and his wise-cracking nature that pushed the initial issue has fallen to the side as the world has become more confusing and complicated (for him). Creators Bitmanis and Zucco also bring more of the past storyline up to date, as well, giving us more clues as to the beginnings of the digital world they find themselves in now and what it means to them, as well as what it has cost.
I’ve noted the change in tone before, and that trend continues throughout this issue, as well. There’s still humor laid in here, but it seems that Bitmanis is using it more to separate two worlds, and Sam is falling further from the giggles as he learns more about what’s happening. It does set up quite a fun dynamic, as the gags in no way deplete the antagonists of any of their power or menace, though one gets the feeling that as we meet a new, even more dire threat, that we may be heading for a comical comeuppance nearer to the resolution. There’s a lot of great character development going on here, and we’re finding more and more facets to the characters we’ve met so far. It’s a little MCU-feeling with the villains being static while the protagonists get all of the good dynamics, but it fits here much better in a small run than over a decade. It’s the kind of manic energy that reminds us that this is supposed to be fun, never letting the circumstances get too bogged down in the dramatic.
I found this issue's artwork a little hard to decipher at times, as there’s a serious increase in the amount of action and some of the panels jumped in ways I wasn’t expecting, but the overall tone and gravitas of the work is still front and center. Zucco is having fun fleshing out this script and really helping to nail the dichotic tone that’s developing. The characters leap off the page in this issue, and I’m finding myself connecting with their design more and more. There’s a whole lot to love here with plenty of subtext shining through.
I like that this is a book that has shifted as much as it has already without losing the thread of a good plot. Though there are things that hang in the air a bit, there’s a promise that things will become clear as we move forward; they’re building quite the engaging mystery. There are not many creators willing to play with their perceived fundamentals so quickly, and it makes for a truly transformative experience. I’m looking forward to a lot more from this intriguing world.
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Creative Team: Erik Bitmanis (Creator/Writer), Ross Zucco (Pencils & Inks)
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