cover image Hard Boiled

Hard Boiled

Frank Miller, Geof Darrow, and Dave Stewart. Dark Horse, $19.99 (136p) ISBN 978-1-50670-107-3

Miller and Darrow’s spectacular grim and gritty SF gorefest from 1991 has been released in a newly recolored edition. The plot is slim: average guy Nixon believes he’s just a simple tax collector, but he’s really Unit Four, a berserk cyborg assassin who routinely murders countless bystanders in pursuit of his targets. When Unit Four is confronted with the reality of his own robotic body, he goes on a rampage against his programming and the (literal) corporate fat cats who made him. Darrow’s insanely intricate penciling brings each violent act into sharp focus, as flesh is shredded in hundreds of increasingly creative ways—all brought to gruesome life by Stewart’s colors. The book’s best humor (besides the dark comedy of Unit Four’s stubborn naiveté) comes from Darrow’s never-ending supply of background gags: shoppers buying sausages the size of their bodies, absurd appliances like the “Lazy Goy.” Those jokes still hold up, which is more than can be said for Miller’s plot, consumed by the same problematic treatment of women that plagues his Sin City work; the result is a technical marvel with a dated flavor. (Sept.)