- Writer: Russell Lissau
- Artist: Shawn Richison
- Letterer: Josh Southall
- Colorist: Juan Romera
- Thanks to Russell Lissau for the review copy!
THE HARDWAYS is a crime caper story set in one of my favorite places – Las Vegas. The introduction name checks some of the classic movies in the genre as inspiration, including OCEAN’S ELEVEN which is also set in Vegas. I tend to agree that there is no better place for a crime story than Sin City.
In my estimation, the best crime capers share two traits. First, they have an elaborate plan to commit a crime. Second, the criminals have to be likable in some way to get us to root for them. Unlike a movie where the complex scheme unfolds within two hours, a comic comes out in installments, so at this point, the true intricacies of the crime are most likely hidden – the best crime capers have some feints and misdirections built in.
So what does THE HARDWAYS bring to the table (pun intended as the story starts at a craps table)? Thus far, the story is pretty straightforward, but you can almost taste the misdirection below the surface. Issue one, dubbed “The Whale” introduces us to a gambler named Maury on a hot streak. We don’t yet know much about him, but in some ways I feel his shirt tells me a lot of what I need to know. As an aside, having spent some time in Vegas, THE HARDWAYS nails the details, from how craps is played, to the casino carpet, to the attire of the patrons.
Having moved the first chess pieces into play to set up the caper, I’m curious to see how the series handles the characters in future issues. Will they be given rakish personalities that make the reader root for them even though they are criminals, or will the book rely on its plot to hold our interest? The issue ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, so plan on getting issue 2 if you enjoy the first.
On a parental advisory scale, I’d place THE HARDWAYS in line with OCEAN’S ELEVEN. There isn’t real violence or cursing so far, but it does involve gambling and crime
THE HARDWAYS #1 is now available on comiXology.
Check back tomorrow when we feature Russell Lissau in our weekly Sandbox
Are you going to pick up the issue? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.