Review: The Crumbs Of A Caper Are Dropped In ‘The Hardways’ #1

by James Ferguson

Maury is on a hot streak at the casino to the extent where others are taking notice. The problem is the wrong kind of people are noticing. How can one man’s luck go from good to bad so quickly?

The Hardways takes us inside high stakes gambling in Las Vegas. The creative team captures that glitz and glamour perfectly, yet Maury still looks like an outsider. We can relate to him as he looks like an average guy. Artist Shawn Richison’s designs create a natural look for all the characters involved. It’s easy to get swept up in Maury’s fun and excitement.

Letterer Josh Southall captures this tone too. When Maury’s rolling dice, he’s shouting out his bets and calling his shots with big, bold letters that perfectly capture the mood.

This makes the shift into the kidnapping plot all the more shocking. This seemingly innocent guy is swept up into a plot that could cost him his life. Colorist Juan Romera shifts the tone of The Hardways here, moving from the bright lights of the casino to the quiet darkness of a suburban home, hiding the kidnappers as they go through with their scheme.

The issue with The Hardways #1 is that it stops right when it really gets going. The hook comes at the very end, where it would have had more impact earlier on. That way we could have a better understanding as to what connection Maury may have to these culprits and how his life is going to be turned upside down, more than it already is. As it stands, writer Russell Lissau sets the table, but we’re missing the silverware.

It doesn’t help that the backup material reveals more about the plot than the comic itself, including the introduction of Dave, the villain of the story. If he’s the brains of the operation, why not feature him as part of this opening salvo?

The Hardways has the makings of a great Las Vegas caper, however it has some more work to do to establish itself. This is more like the prologue to the full story instead of the first chapter.

The Hardways #1 from Double Down Comics is currently available digitally through ComiXology and from the creators’ websites

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