By Thea Srinivasan
If I had to describe one movie that’s similar to this comic, I would choose The Matrix. Both of them talk about uploading someone’s mind to the internet, the belief that A.I programs can have sentience and physics-defying abilities someone can have on the internet. If you haven’t watched the movie series, I’m sorry I spoiled it for you.
Hard Wyerd is about a man named Sam who suddenly gets kidnapped by an organization he formerly worked for. His job was to go into an upgraded version of the internet and act as a spy to pass on information from one person to another. This upgraded version was a utopia where people could come and go as they please and manipulate the environment and themselves. After an incident that forced Sam to quit, he is forcibly called back to retrieve a specific item only to be led off course from the intended mission.
While this comic does have some similarities to The Matrix, this tale is able to stand on its own with the classic action-adventure scheme it presents. Sam is a perverted, hands-on guy who does what he needs to do to survive. While he leans toward humor to soften his mood, he ends up killing everyone else’s. He’s memorable enough that I want to see what he has to deal with and get to know who he is, but he isn’t going to be on my top list of protagonists. Luckily, the creators were able to balance the story out with the minor characters. There is an A.I program who has her own agenda as she leads Sam through the virtual world. Even though she is an A.I program, she has a personality that makes almost human-like and makes me wonder how much sentience she’s gained over time. At the same time, there’s the hard-headed boss who will stop at nothing to get the job done. Following her is a comedic momma’s boy, a friend of Sam who puts up with his crap and a girl Sam fell hard for, I find there is enough from the characters to keep me satisfied.
The entire virtual universe itself has seemingly integrated into society. There isn’t a lot of information about the virtual world itself, but I do know that anyone can make their dreams come alive just by entering this world. Unlike The Matrix, the user will know when they’ve entered the virtual universe and can easily come and go as they please as the universe is not controlled by an artificial intelligence. However, Sam has a special position with the organization seemingly similar to the secret service or a hitman group. With that in mind, I really want to know how Sam got into the business and how the organization ended up where it was.
The art style is a nice homage to the older comic styles with its intense focus on sexualizing characters, background design and action sequences to make every panel almost a delight to read. While I wish the artists could cut back on sexualizing characters, its appeal will surely make readers happy. The intense focus on the art style surely made my gasp at every panel I read.
Thankfully this story doesn’t have any deep metaphorically undertones. Unlike other stories, this one is solely focused on the adventure the main character has to go through. The premise is simplistic enough and as the reader continues to read further volumes, the plot will surely get convoluted and we will end up seeing Sam in sticky situations trying to save his own butt and get out of the situation he got caught up in.
Overall, this is a good sci-fi adventure that will keep readers on their toes with its rapid pace and detailed scenes. With decent characters, a good universe and ever-evolving plot, this story will keep someone entertained on a plane ride for a really long time. This story is for the person who fell in love with the internet and wants to explore every possible way to mess up reality.