What makes one want to crawl through an air conditioning shaft in the middle of the worst summer day?  For John McClane it is all in the line of duty as he ends up being the most qualified police officer to infiltrate a massage parlor under siege.

diehardCOVER.jpgDie Hard: Year One #6
Writer: Howard Chaykin
Art: Gabriel Andrade Jr.
Colors: Stephen Downer
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Covers:  Dave Johnson and Joe Jukso (A), John Paul Leon (B), Joe Jusko (C)
Publisher: Boom! Studios

What’s really interesting is that now we are into the second story arc, there are a lot of things starting to make more sense in the overall scheme of the title.  Instead of a series of epic Die Hard stories, Chaykin is giving readers a glimpse into what makes John McClane so kick-ass when he finally ends up in Nakatomi Tower. If readers want to know where Yipi-Ki-Ay came from, one only has to read the first arc.  If viewers were in disbelief that someone could crawl his way through a ventilation shaft, they only have to see what is playing out in the current story arc as they’ll discover what makes McClane tick in tight spaces.

For McClane, it’s his experiences as an eight year old crawling under a house, and as a soldier making his way through a tunnel during the Vietnam war, that gives readers an inside look at the fears and history of Detective McClane.  In terms of story telling, this is the first time I think I’ve been able to relate to McClane as a person instead of an action star, and Chaykin deserves all the credit for that.

The story continues to be inter-cut between McClane being super-cop, the terrorist inside the massage parlor, and the gang of minor thugs in upper New York, who want to make the jump to the big time by helping in the big event of the story.  Unlike the first story arc, where the story seemed to drag forever, we get a better idea of where everything is going in this issue.  While there may still be a swerve ahead (isn’t there always?) it’s pretty safe to say that the city is about to erupt in mass chaos in the next installment when the lights go out.

Also, unlike the previous arc, the characters here seem much more developed, and it’s more clear to the reader what drives and motivates each of them.  One can see a connection between the development of the story and the experience McClane is gaining with each new adventure, and I like this a lot.

As far as the art goes, Gabriel Andrade Jr. is doing one heck of a job here. His style rides the line between what one might expect to see in an indie comic and art we see in a tent pole title from one of the other publishers. The only other time we’ve seen Andrade’s work is an issue of Aliens from 2009, and I’m quickly becoming a fan of his work.  Boom! Studios has done a great job of finding excellent talent, and it looks like they’ve done it again with Andrade.

By issue’s end I find myself back on the Die Hard bandwagon, excited about a story and the characters.  The series got off to a rough start, but I think it is finally found its grove and I’m ready to ride along for the long haul.  The story is solid, with pacing that doesn’t drag, and the art is really good.  If you didn’t pick up issue #5, do it when you head to your local comic book store this week to pick up issue #6.  Die Hard: Year One #6 is an excellent end to act one of this story, and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

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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1 Comment

  1. Greg A
    February 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm — Reply

    I may have to track down the trade of the first story arc.

    I wonder if the series will look into the past of other Die Hard characters like Hans Gruber, Sgt. Al and even Richard Thornberg.

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