Review: An Unlikely Kidnapping Plot Goes Awry In ‘The Hardways’ #2

by James Ferguson


Some more players are introduced as this caper takes a few more twists and turns. Poor Maury is stuck in the middle and he was just looking to blow off some steam at the casino.


After a great night at the casino, Maury was walking on air. He had a bunch of winnings and a pretty waitress on his arm. That was before he was kidnapped and held for ransom. A problem arises when no one wants to pay to get Maury back. So, now what?

The unlikely caper in The Hardways continues with its second chapter as more players enter the fray and the stakes are raised. Writer Russell Lissau makes Maury more of a MacGuffin, like a pawn in a deadly game to see which side will blink first. This is an odd move as the first issue was focused almost entirely on him and now he’s more of a supporting character.

The kidnappers, joined by Rachel, the aforementioned waitress, clearly haven’t thought this through. We don’t know much about them just yet or why they’re doing this aside from the money. I guess that’s as good a reason as any, but there’s no real development here so there’s nothing for us to grab onto or care about with them. From the looks of things, they’re about to be torn apart for this move.

The action is light in The Hardways #2, however artist Shawn Richison keeps things interesting with a wide variety of camera angles. On the surface, this looks like a lot of folks talking, but these different perspectives provide for more of an interesting reading experience.

These conversations set a nice pace from letterer Josh Southall. The placements of the word balloons are such that you’re focused on key areas of the artwork.

There are some sloppy mistakes that take us out of this smooth experience though. For example, Maury is strapped to a chair that disappears for a few panels. Granted, he’s a big guy so he’s covering most of it, but it’s just not there sometimes. There are also some awkward shots where people appear flat or the angles are off. You get the gist of the tone though.

Colorist Juan Romera strikes a nice balance between the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas and the seedy underbelly where the kidnappers lurk. It’s like the lights from Vegas can be seen in the distance, but they’re just far away that they can’t shine on these folks.

The Hardways is now two chapters in and still laying the groundwork. It’s shaping up to be a solid caper full of twists and turns, but I’m not sure if there are still more characters waiting in the wings to be introduced.

The Hardways #2 from Double Down Comics is currently available through ComiXology.

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