"Hail Hydra" #1 is a story between the panels of a regular title that just-so-happens to sit in the middle of an epic crossover and expands to fill the space. Written by Rick Remender and drawn by Roland Boschi, this comic begins the tale of Ian's journey in the Infinite Elevator in his role as Nomad. Readers who follow Remender's "Captain America" comic know where the trail leads but, in the vast unknown of the "Secret Wars" landscape, anything is possible.
Remender seizes the opportunity for a Nomad solo adventure and plugs letterer Clayton Cowles' narration boxes full of Nomad's thoughts and rationalizations. Ian's monologue illustrates a young man filled with doubt underneath the appearance of confidence. Remender enacts the "nature versus nurture" debate into Ian's thoughts and uses that concept to drive the narrative, leaving readers with an impactful last reminder of the concept on the cliffhanger final.
Boschi's storytelling is strong throughout the issue, and his drawings are heavy with shadows set on figures to enhance the desperation of the scenario that drives the issue. Boschi is as much to credit for the final page gut punch as Remender, as his character work is filled with distinct faces and figures throughout the issue. His actual style is reminiscent of Tony Harris' work, but not as subtle. Colorist Chris Chuckry brings variations and gradients to Boschi's work that might be better off in a different story, as the enhancements seem mismatched to the broad planes Boschi chisels for each character. Essentially, those moments where the lighting and mood are of a "normal" dramatic scale wobble more than the scenes filled with extreme lighting, impactful emotion or intense action. It appears as though Boschi adds in some of the sound effects, but Cowles makes the written word of the story work through Boschi's artwork nicely, played for emphasis while amplifying the dire straits present in this adventure.
"Hail Hydra" #1 is a story for fans of the Ian Rogers/Leopold Zola Nomad character. The dystopian world that serves as the backdrop for this adventure is not unlike Dimension Z, and "Hydra" could easily be slotted out with any other organization. Given the current popularity of Hydra, however, the title serves notice for more pedestrian fans and this issue does a fine job of introducing readers to Nomad without the trappings inherent in a Captain America adventure. This isn't a must-have for all haves, nor will it be the most memorable "Secret Wars" spinoff title, but Remender, Boschi, Chuckry and Cowles present solid work with reliable characters in a tense, fast-moving story where truly anything can happen, especially in the shadow of "Secret Wars."