The first John McClane story arc got off to a rough start, and now Boom! Studios delivers up a brand new tale of John McClane, New York City Detective.  Will this issue kick ass, or get kicked to the curb?

diehard5COVER.jpgDie Hard: Year One #5
Writer: Howard Chaykin
Artist: Gabriel Andrade Jr.

Previously in Die Hard: Year One: In 1976, John McClane was a run of the mill New York City beat cop tasked with crowd control for the 1976 bicentennial festivities.  A series of events found McClane serving as private security aboard a luxury yacht that just was hijacked by those plotting to kill everyone on board.  McClane being McClane saved the day, thus prompting his promotion to Detective John McClane.

This issue finds McClane partnered with Olga Cruces, one of the few female detectives employed in the city.  Instead of hunting the Son of Sam killer, the duo have been assigned to find who is knocking over massage parlors in the city.  The two detectives have a great chemistry with one another, and the credit for that goes Howard Chaykin who delivers up really solid dialogue in this issue, and a story that becomes more compelling as it progresses.

The thief is a would-be actor who is using his make-up and costume expertise as a way of confusing those who witness his escapades, thus making it harder for detectives McClane and Cruces to find their quarry.  The duo do catch up to their prey, but not before the thief takes everyone inside his current target of opportunity hostage.  On one of the hottest days of the year, things are probably going to get really intense really fast.
There’s also a side-story that sets up a small mob family with their sites set on bigger and better things. This is the part of the issue that has a great deal of mystery to it, as we know only that the brothers are mobsters in a small town, and that some deal is about to go down that would allow them to diversify.  A woman in a red dress also makes her rounds, and she is nothing but trouble from the first panel.

Overall, I like how Chaykin paces this story. It isn’t the slow burn we were marched through in the first arc, as readers get a fast buildup to the action taking place.

As far as the art goes, I’m digging it a lot more than I did before. From the Mack Bolan-esque cover by Dave Johnson and Joe Jusko to the interior details dished up by Gabriel Andrade Jr., the issue clicks and it really feels like 1977.

There are a couple of things that bother me about this issue, though.  First, it is called Year One, but it clearly states the events in this story happen a year after the last story arc, which would put these events in at least year two. Perhaps this can all be explained away as this being the first year of McClane being a detective, while the first arc was a prequel of sorts.  The other thing that troubles me is the massage parlor robberies.  I really hope this arc doesn’t turn out to be some kind of Dog Day Afternoon plot where the entire time we’re going to see McClane and his partner attempting to talk down a hostage situation, because one more issue is as long as I see that story lasting.

Those problems aside, I really enjoyed this issue a lot more than the previous arc.  Chaykin is really starting to get into the groove in terms of finding a voice for our hero, and the monologue moments read a lot more solidly than before.  It’s good to see McClane partnered up with someone he gets along with, and better still to see the character develop.  For those who didn’t read the first arc, don’t worry, new readers can jump on board here, and I highly recommend Die Hard: Year One #5 giving it a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

FTC Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary electronic review copy provided by the publisher.


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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