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The Stand: Hardcases issue 5

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The series comes to its conclusion and, as it happens, my prediction was wrong. I was certain that this issue would end with the explosion, but that doesn't come to pass. It's hinted at in the final panel, so I guess they wanted to save that for the next series.

Instead, we focus on the hunt for Abigail. There is some debate as to whether or not they should bother, but Harold comes up with the idea of finding her so that they can at least keep an eye on her and make sure she's OK.

Not surprisingly, Harold has an ulterior motive, namely killing Stu. That plan is ruined when Stu offers an olive branch of friendship, which throws Harold off his game.

He does get it back, at least to some degree, when he wins the townspeople over by suggesting that the ad hoc committee is set as is and is made permanent. To Stu's credit, he picks up on what Harold's doing, but he does admit it was rather brilliant on Harold's end. It was a fairly brief scene, but I did get a kick out of it. Watching two characters battle each other in tactical mind games can be quite entertaining and this brought a little of that to the table.

Actually, now that I think about it, Harold's intellect really did get to shine here. Not only does he concoct two fairly successful schemes, but he is also quick to deduce that someone had broken into his house. He also figures out who did it based on likely suspects as well as a footprint that had been left behind. It doesn't quite hit the same levels as L, but it's far more impressive than Fran's attempt at deductive reasoning.

I'm truly surprised the comic didn't end with the explosion. While those who read the book won't be surprised by it, it still feels like more of a wham moment than what this comic ended on. Honestly, I was surprised that the comic ended when it did. It wasn't bad, but it didn't have a whole lot of umph either.

The artwork was better. There weren't as many odd looking faces as some of the earlier issues had. The only one that comes to mind is when Harold is giving his phone the bird while talking to Stu, but all in all, it was solid.

I did enjoy the two pages of focus that Kojak got. If it hasn't been made abundantly clear by now, I like dogs, so I got a kick out of that. It was cute.

With this series wrapped up, the number of "Stand" series drops to two as the group starts to implement its plan to take down Flagg once and for all.

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