Valiant's zero issues always hold some treasure to the past that enhances the series or answers a question you may have. The history of the H.A.R.D. Corps is vast and filled with turmoil. What grab’s your attention is the characters that develop the program and not the actual soldiers. HARD Corps started with the Vietnam War giving soldiers special abilities like fire and shock with the help of brain implants and special equipment. The soldiers that were picked had a timeline on their life and were happy to do because it may extend or better their life even for a few years. The first gen soldiers were only predicted to survive at most 2 years but the furthest one made five years. There is a heavy price for being part of the Corps; you start losing your mind and functions of your body because it may extend you or better your life but also takes it from you. Arthur the doctor behind installing this project is realizing this. He is trying to find a better way for the Soldiers to live and not feel the effects of the implants. After the first gen passes Arthur and Prescott, the head of Project Rising Spirit, start butting heads on what is truly successful and not.
The research gets even more advanced and the life expectancy extends further with more time, but nothing can be done with the loss of mind and the effect of the implants. The other issue that is arising is the control of participants. This becomes very prevalent when the compound is attacked by two member of the Corps because promises were broken or requests were not met. Prescott ensures the best way to have control is have leverage with the participants so they can never gain control, they are weapons and replaceable. Arthur’s solution is more interaction with Lifeline so trust and relation can build so the participant doesn't go AWOL or ape shit.
New improvements happen over time and Prescott is getting asked to step down and thanks Arthur for all his hard work but there is one more mission at hand. Tracker has gone rogue and needs to be taken out. Some new help has been furnished to assist Major Palmer for this mission.
Valiant delivers another great title. The back story of the H.A.R.D. corps is great. It actually brings out the humanity of the project compared to the hardcore weapons side. I also like that it focuses on Arthur and Prescott vs the actual soldiers. It was interesting to see Arthur making these “weapons” but trying to keep their humanity intact. Because of this you get some great reactions after Prescott plays his mind games with them. It’s predictable on why HARD corps was shut down. The issue was great but it also didn’t draw you in. It was like reading history. I love history and you can learn from it but I also want action for the now. As usual the art is great and shows off everything well. You can feel what the soldiers are going through and read their expressions well. The power are portrayed nicely too with the feel of fire, shock and the dangers of radiation.
I recommend this book on the account that you want more history to the H.A.R.D. corps. It isn’t a necessary issue but Valiant does have a way to put hidden nuggets in the zero issues that comes to flourish later on.
Writer: Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart Artists: Valentine De Landro, Joseph Cooper with John Livesay, ChrisCross with Victor Loazaba Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/26/14