Review – Die Hard: Year One #1-3

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With this weeks skip week, it opened up the opportunity to check out a comic we might not have otherwise picked up.  I’m a huge fan of the Die Hard movies.  John McClane in the first movies was the every man who was put into a bad situation.  The follow up’s, entertaining as they were, missed that fact (the third came close, showing McClane’s flaws).  Die Hard: Year one, produced by Boom! Studios is a prequel of sorts focusing on John McClane’s first year as a police officer.  But, is it as strong or entertaining as the movies?

Die Hard: Year OnePlot: The device for the first three issues is made up of a lot of cut scenes that all intertwine, involved McClane’s first day on the job, a ritzy party on a boat, a robbery and a murder.  It’s like a Tarantino movie where it all comes together in the third issue.  All of this is occurring with the US bicentennial serving as the backdrop.

Story: Howard Chaykin handles the writing duties for the series attempting to create the feel of a movie on the printed page.  When the series focuses just on McClane working the beat or the murder the series works.  The greater plot of the party on the boat and robbery seem a little to ridiculous for me.  Instead of giving a good character driven crime/noir story like DC’s amazing cop series Gotham Central, we’re lead to an over the top heist story that makes Die Hard 4 seem plausible.  When the series focuses just on the main character as a beat cop it works.  The rest, I could do without.  Rating: 6.5

Art: The art is handled by Stephen Thompson with colors by Matthew Wilson.  With the story taking place in 1776 a certain style has to come across in the cars and clothes the pedestrians are wearing.  Thompson pulls this off really well.  The characters are decent with just enough detail in the foreground as needed and not too much in the background to distract.  Wilson’s coloring is very nice with a great palette used for each issue.  Rating: 7

Overall: The series attempts to bring the over the top plots as seen in the movies to the comic books.  It doesn’t quite work, instead of a straight forward heist from the first movie, we’re given a goofy one like Die Hard 2.  Chaykin, needs to keep the focus on McClane the man with a little more mundane crime (like focus on just the murder with some American Gangster thrown in) and less on the over the top heist itself.  A little more character, a little less action.  Overall Rating: 6.75

Recommendation: Read