Hey there, Action Agents! We’ve been busy bringing you Awesome Hospital, Monster Plus and a few other great comics for a while, but there’s a story we promised you a long while back that we’ve never been able to deliver — until now!
That’s right, everybody: After four years since we started working on it, we’re finally offering up The Hard Ones #1 to you, right here at the Action Age of Comics! Before now, you could’ve only seen it if you managed to catch us at a convention, but you can download the entire thing right now for free!
Faced with a budget crisis and super-hero activity that leaves them as a glorified clean-up crew, the Worldwide Extranormal Incident Response Directorate decides to outsource their activities to two independent operators who built their reputation taking on the most dangerous jobs for $10,000 a pop. It’s high-kickin’, hard-drivin’, hell-raisin’ excitement in the Affably Awesome Action Age manner when The Hard Ones set out to Get Lucky!
Originally created during the Second World War as a response to Nazi Occult Research and Super-Science teams, the Worldwide Extranormal Incident Response Directorate and its Operatives had a mission to collect, catalogue and contain threats that the conventional military wasn’t equipped for. From death rays to mad sorcerors, they stood against the threats nobody else could and were the best there was… for a while.
With the rise of the modern super-hero, however, W.E.I.R.D.O.s have been increasingly limited to showing up in the aftermath of a super-powered punchout to haul the unconscious bad guys off to prison. The public sees them as little more than a glorified clean-up crew, and with the government looking for ways to cut corners, W.E.I.R.D.‘s on the chopping block. They’ve got one last chance to prove they can still do the job, and for that, they’ve turned to the one man who can turn things around: Doctor Socrates.
Dr. Alexander Socrates is the smartest man in the world, and he’s got a plan to get the cash-strapped government agency back on its feet.
A former adventurer himself, “Doc Soc” is well acquainted with the people he’s going up against, and he knows the best way to prove W.E.I.R.D.’s relevance is by taking the fight to them! The problem is how to do that on the shoestring budget they’ve been left with, but as always, the good Doctor has a solution. Why send a team of W.E.I.R.D.O.s that costs millions to train and equip into a hazardous situation when you can outsource it to a couple of freelance (and yes, expendable) “Recovery Agents” who’ll do any job for ten thousand? Sure, it’s a little ruthless, but Doc’s found two men that have been working as super-villain bounty hunters–a mystical kung fu master and a hardcore, daredevil wheelman–that might just fit the bill.
It’s not gonna be easy, but then again, these aren’t the guys you get for the easy jobs. These are the guys you get for…
And that’s all for the character profiles of The Hard Ones! Of course, we could introduce you to the deadly Kings of Vegas, the smokin’ Hot Rod Honeys, the tough-as-nails Outlaws, or even the Seven Men of Evil… but that’ll have to wait for another time. Keep your eyes on the road and watch your back: The Hard Ones are coming soon to the Action Age of Comics!
For a kid growing up on the mean streets of King City, learning to fight is as essential as learning to walk, but Pete took it a few steps further. Throw a punch at him and when you wake up, you’ll realize he was three moves ahead of you all the time.
Of course, that kind of skill doesn’t come without a price, and in Pete’s case, it was a big one: He might be the world’s greatest living kung fu grandmaster, but his body serves as the prison for an undying dragon spirit that’s just waiting for a chance to break out and get its revenge on the world it once ruled. The one upside? If a man’s will, focus and determination are strong enough, he can use that spirit’s power for his own.
And believe us…
There’s a reason Judah calls him Dragon Hand!
Next Week: You’ve met Motor and the Drag, but who is Doctor Socrates… and what is W.E.I.R.D.?!
Over the next couple of weeks, we here at the Action Age plan on reintroducing you to the cast of The Hard Ones! First up, the hard-drivin’ hell-raiser, Motorhead Mitchell!
Concept art by Rusty Shackles
Judah Mitchell might just be the world’s greatest wheelman and for the past few years he’s been employing that talent (along with a suspicious familiarity with the super-criminal underground) as a super-villain skip-tracer, tracking down the bad guys who break jail and turning them in for the reward. Behind the wheel of the muscle car he calls The Hammer, Judah pulls off stunts that no other driver would even think about and manages to come away without a scratch, but nobody quite knows how. Some people say that he won a drag race with the Devil himself and drove away with a car that runs on hellfire and brimstone. Others say that he owes his driving ability to a criminal mastermind that’s using him to pick off his enemies one by one. And others say he’s just that good. But they all agree on one thing:
When the Motor’s running, get out of the way!
Next Week: Get to know Judah’s partner, Dragon Hand!
We’ve been promising you that 2009 would be the Year of the Action Age, and with Solomon Stone, Monster Plus, and a few yet-to-be-revealed projects on the horizon, we’re right on target to make that happen! But still, some of you–especially those of you who caught us last year at HeroesCon–might be wondering whatever happened to our original flagship title.
Well, without getting into the gory details, we’ll admit that it’s been a while. But don’t worry, Action Agers, because now… The Boys Are Back!
The Action Age is proud to announce that pinup sensation Rusty Shackles is the new artist of the next great hard-drivin’, hell-raisin’, ass-kickin’ adventure comic!
Yesterday, they were bounty hunters specializing in supervillain jailbreaks. Today, they’re the newest recruits of W.E.I.R.D., a cash-strapped government agency that has them under contract as affordable–and expendable–freelance “recovery agents!” They’re Pete Willis and Judah Mitchell, and if you want muscle cars, martial arts and mayhem, then you need… The Hard Ones!
It’s by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Rusty Shackles, and it’s coming soon to the Action Age of Comics!