Hardware: Season One #1 is written by Brandon Thomas, penciled by Denys Cowan, inked by Bill Sienkiewicz, colored by Chris Sotomayor, and lettered by Rob Leigh. It is published by DC Comics. After the events of the Big Bang, genius inventor Curis Metcalf is framed for the incident by his employer Edwin Alva. As a result, Metcalf forges a suit of hi-tech armor and becomes the vigilante Hardware, intending to bring Alva’s empire toppling down by any means necessary.
Though Static is arguably the most well-known character in the Milestone Universe, Hardware is one of the most important. Created by Cowan and the late Dwayne McDuffie, Hardware was the first-ever Milestone title to be published. Thus, there’s a symmetry in Hardware: Season One being the last of the Milestone relaunch titles. The majority of the first issue also features callbacks and a similar structure to Hardware #1. The two comics even share the title “Angry Black Man” and a speech from Metcalf about the nature of freedom, using his childhood parakeet as an example. However, there are a few modern-day twists, including Curtis’s origin as Hardware tied to the Big Bang that empowered Virgil Hawkins and other metahumans.
A large part of what makes this comic so engaging is Thomas’ scripting. Thomas digs deep into Metcalf’s head, revealing that he has some issues surrounding his father. This also extends to his relationship with Alva, who he saw as his father figure. In perhaps one of the biggest changes from the original Hardware comic, Metcalf’s onboard computer system is named P.O.P. and appears to take on the voice and mannerisms of his father. Thomas previously tackled fatherhood issues in his creator-owned series Excellence, so it only makes sense that those themes would continue to play a part in Hardware. And the ending of the issue indicates that Metcalf isn’t about to take Alva’s betrayal lying down.
Cowan returns to illustrate Hardware, with his pencils given bold new direction courtesy of Sienkiewicz’s inks. Hardware’s trademark red, black, and silver armor looks just as cutting-edge in 2021 as it did in 1993. Cowan goes full out with the action sequences, depicting the technological might of Hardware’s armor against various police forces. His plasma knife allows him to slice through metal like hot butter, and his jetpack gives off twin bursts of flame that cut through a gray and stormy sky. Sotomayor keeps the red and black theme running through the issue, whether Curtis is in or out of armor. This even extends to Leigh’s lettering, as Metcalf’s caption boxes are colored red and black, and a sonic device he uses to deliver to an ultimatum displays his words as loud, red letters of intent.
Hardware: Season One #1 puts a modern-day spin on Milestone’s armored antihero and features the return of one of his co-creators. If you enjoyed Static: Season One or are looking to get more into Milestone comics, this series is a great starting point. I would also recommend it to fans looking for a new series to read.
Hardware: Season One #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Hardware: Season One #1
Hardware: Season One #1 puts a modern-day spin on Milestone’s armored antihero and features the return of one of his co-creators. If you enjoyed Static: Season One or are looking to get more into Milestone comics, this series is a great starting point.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.