Die Hard: Year One #7
Written by Howard Chaykin
Art by Gabriel Andrade Jr.
Covers: (A) Dave Johnson & Joe Jusko; (B) John Paul Leon
Released Date: March 17, 2010
As with the first six issues, Die Hard: Year One #7, based on the beginning of the character John McClane’s life from the hit movies of the same name, was a fun romp through the world of the Die Hard universe. Every issue of this comic book is like a brand new summer action movie.
Well I would like to start off by saying that the art on the book, by Gabriel Andrade Jr.,, is phenomenal and is the perfect mixture of photo reference and cartooning. John McClane looks like he should but not so much that every time I see him I think about how eerie it is that Bruce Willis is staring at me through the panels.
Another thing that I enjoy but most people probably don’t pay much attention to is the cover design for the series. It takes a very distinctive step away from the mainstream and I enjoy it a lot. It reminds me a lot of something Jonathan Hickman would design. The covers for this issue were done by Joe Jusko, Dave Johnson, and John Paul Leon.
As I mentioned earlier in my review I really enjoyed Andrade’s art in the book. His landscapes are the best, very distinct and all encompassing yet not so overbearing that you lose focus on the story at hand. Each character looks like they have a purpose even if they are ancillary. The city itself feels like it has a story of its own to tell. I really enjoy every aspect of this art, especially in this most recent issue that deals with the current story as well as two flashbacks, all mirroring each other how the panel layout reflects each story and how it relates.
Now I have to sing the praises of Howard Chaykin as he brilliantly captures the essence of each character and makes them come to life as you read them. Chaykin does great with the established characters and also uses characters you would expect to be more minor cast in the story stand out. I love McClains’s partner Detective Olga Cruces, a strong Puerto Rican female character. In a time where strong women were not taken seriously, Dt. Cruces stands out and shows just how good Chaykin is at fleshing out characters including but not limited to John McClane, his coworkers, his enemies, and his future relationships in the movies. I cannot stress how well this book is written and drawn to fit in to the time it takes place.
Another great thing which is resolved in the last few issues is the time stamps. If you have not been reading you will have no clue what I am talking about, but if you have you will know exactly what I mean. In each issue — pretty much every page — has a time stamp for each scene and at the beginning the time stamps did not make much sense, as in there was a fight that lasted like 20 minutes, but it seems that has been worked out. I’m not sure if that was editorial or Chaykin, but I am glad it has been pretty much resolved. This is great because this was my only slight complaint with the series as a whole.
I will definitely be continuing with this series and encourage anyone who has not picked it up yet to go ahead and jump in. Chaykin does a great job of writing each issue in a way that any one could start reading at any time. If that is not your cup of tea, then I encourage you to pick up the trades.
I give the issue a 5 out of 5.
I give the series a 4.5 out of 5.