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"Hardbody #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Hardbody 1 00

Written by Fred Schwartz
Illustrated by Savy Lim
Inked by Victor Moya
Colored by Martin Hernandez Tena
Lettered by Adam Wollet
2018, 28 Pages, $3.99
Comic released November 23rd, 2018

Review:

Dr. Vijay Mittal longs for a better body. He sees the athletic physiques at the gym and wonders why he can't look like those guys. Instead of eating right and exercising, he decides to use his intellect and skills as a doctor to just make a body. Cobbled together from the biggest muscles of the biggest bodybuilders, Mittal just might be related to Dr. Frankenstein.

Vijay is a pretty pathetic character, made even more so by artist Savy Lim's pencils. He's short, pudgy, balding and didn't get a single number in the genetic lotto. This makes the bodybuilders that Vijay looks up to look even bigger by comparison; they're almost comically large with muscles upon muscles.

As much as Vijay yearns for muscles, he doesn't seem to try all that hard...or rather, he tries in the weirdest ways. From the looks of this first issue, he basically went to the gym a few times and then decided to rip the limbs off a bunch of people. Maybe try Crossfit first. This would be like me not wanting to put the effort into playing guitar, so I cut off Jimmy Page's hands and sew them on my arms. That's a pretty sudden escalation. Since we're not really invested in Vijay's reasoning, he comes across more as a mad scientist than someone sticking up for the little guy.

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Click images to enlarge

What might have helped this would be a change in the narration. It's done by a third party and not Vijay himself. If we heard this stuff from his perspective, it could have lent more credence to his actions.

Granted, Hardbody is not really a drama and more of a dark comedy. Lim's artwork, complemented by Victor Moya's inks showcase the ridiculously large muscles on the guys at the gym, to the point where I swear one of them winked at me. At times it looks like the muscles have minds of their own, like they're moving around the bodies of their own free will to always provide a bulge.

This over-emphasis to an almost cartoon level extends to Martin Hernandez Tena's colors too. The first half of the book is like a candy-coated wonderland full of bright lights and vibrant colors. When Vijay reveals his master plan, Hardbody shifts to a much darker tone, full of dim greys, blacks, and browns. Vijay's Frankenstein creation looks sickly and diseased. He's working with corpses after all.

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Click images to enlarge

This is where Hardbody really takes shape, in more ways than one. Lim fills these pages with some tremendous blood and gore. There are some pretty creative kills with eyes and teeth flying all over the place. The panel layout is more varied here, appearing more chaotic as Vijay lets loose in his new body.

Hardbody plays with our ever-growing fascination with fitness and our never-ending quest to find the easy way out. Vijay was able to craft an entirely new body out of limbs and organs from a number of different people, but he couldn't quite figure out how to do a push up. Now his reign of terror is beginning and no one will laugh at him again.

Grades:

Story: Threestars Hardbody 1 Small
Art: Threeandahalfstars
Overall: Threestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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