One thing that stands out about the first Die Hard movie is how long it took to get to the end of the first act. It wasn’t until John McClane hot footed it across the hallway to the stairwell that the action finally took off. Once those first 30 minutes passed, the film turned into one heck of an action flick. For Boom! Studios’ Die Hard: Year One, issue three marks the beginning of the action.

DieHard_03_CVRC.jpgDIE HARD: YEAR ONE #3
Written by Howard Chaykin
Drawn by Stephen Thompson
24pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Dave Johnson

For two issues, readers were introduced the central characters, who muddled about the same two or three blocks of New York City, as two corrupt cops slowly chased a witness who saw the two murder a man in an alley. In this installment we get to see all the players converge on a yacht owned by one of the richest men in New York, and discover what all the commotion is about. On the surface it looks like a robbery, with a plain clothes John McClane caught in the middle of the action. McClane was hired at the last minute to provide addition security on a boat already filled with a staff of tough guys who are also in on the high jinks. To complicate matters, the damsel in distress is also on the boat and needs protection. It’s up to McClane to save the ship and its passengers before something goes horribly wrong.

This is a great pick up in the pace of the story, which felt like it was dragging its heels in the last installment. Here, the plot is revealed, and readers get to see a little bit of punching and fighting as only men in the 1970s could do, complete with the use of colorful language like “butthead” to emphasis how macho they really are. While piracy looks to be the main motivation for the hijacking, fans of the Die Hard series are probably already wondering if the robbery is a cover for something even bigger. It seems to be the modus operandi for the franchise, and while I’m hoping for something completely different, I’m on board for the big switch reveal down the road.

Chaykin uses inner monologue effectively here, and although there are some stumbles as the narrative boxes are interrupted by panel composition, it pushes the reader deeper into McClane’s thoughts and offers up his assessment of the situation. There are also moments of laugh out loud moments as Mrs. Ford interrupts those thoughts with a dirty sexual suggestion that even McClane won’t repeat in his thoughts. The dialogue exchanges in this issue also smooth out as it appears Chaykin is finally finding his groove with the characters and understanding each of their motivations.

There’s a very stylistic approach to the art that finally clicks in this issue. The use of halftone patterns with strong lines around the human form gives one the feeling that they are reading a comic from the time period, but also incorporates digital coloring techniques common today.

I really wish it hadn’t taken two issues to get to this point in the story, the action and reveals made here more than make up for the, “Stroll, Lola. Stroll” progression of the last issue. Die Hard: Year One #3 shows us what makes John McClane an action hero, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Issue three is a great pick up in the story and earns the issue 4 out of 5 Stars.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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