- Writer: Russell Lissau
- Artist: Shawn Richison
- Letterer: Josh Southall
- Colorist: Juan Romera
- Thanks to Russell Lissau for the review copy!
THE HARDWAYS is a heist story set in Vegas that takes its inspiration from capers like OCEAN’S ELEVEN and THE ITALIAN JOB. The writer promised surprises that are the hallmark of the genre, and issue 2 delivers. The first issue introduced the players, the venue, and provided one major plot point – Maury, a big time gambler (known as a whale) fell for a trap laid by Rachel and was kidnapped by a group of thugs who planned to ransom him.
With that out of the way, THE HARDWAYS is free to let the fun begin. It starts with Maury, who aside from his funky shirt, didn’t get a chance to stand out in the first issue. It turns out, he’s really funny and likeable, at least for the reader as the rest of the characters don’t seem to dig him that much. Within the first few pages, we also get our first major plot twist. The direction the story went, while not the most shocking, really fit with the set up and was quite satisfying (and humorous).
Issue two moves another character who had a brief appearance in the first issue into the forefront – Cheryl the casino manager. Now there are three ‘teams’ in play – Cheryl, the kidnappers, and Maury, which opens up many more story possibilities. Through two issues, the kidnappers remain fairly one dimensional. One of the hallmarks of the crime caper genre is likable criminals, so I’m curious to see where this series takes them.
Thus far, the series merits the same parental discretion as movies in the genre – if your kids are old enough to watch OCEAN’S ELEVEN, they can probably read this book, as it has minimal cursing and only mild violence. If you haven’t read issue 1, this issue provides one of the strongest ‘story so far’ pages I’ve seen, so you are free to start with issue 2, which I felt was even stronger than the debut based on the plot progression and Maury’s dialogue.
THE HARDWAYS #2 is now available on Russell Lissau’s online store, and will be released on comiXology on February 24th, 2021.
Russell Lissau participated in our weekly Sandbox Spotlight, which you can read here.
Are you going to pick up the issue? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.