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Curtis Metcalf, alias Hardware is a superhero vigilante operating out of Dakota City. He is a genius inventor who has designed an advanced armored exo-skeleton with an immense arsenal of technological weaponry. He wages a one-man crusade against crime by night, fighting against his former mentor, Edwin Alva, and the international syndicate S.Y.S.T.E.M..

Origins

Curtis Metcalf 001

Building Hardware

Curtis Metcalf was a child prodigy from a working class neighborhood, born to Mitchell and Denise Metcalf.[3] At age twelve, famous inventor Edwin Alva took notice of his gifts and developed a personal interest in him.[4] Alva paid his way through the top schools in the country, Curt graduated from high school at age fourteen, and got his first college degree at fifteen. After completing his education on scholarship, the only requirement was that he would come to work at Alva Technologies, where he was given an enormous salary, his own staff, and the freedom to work on anything he wanted.[4] This paid off, and his inventions made millions of dollars for the company. Throughout his life, he considered Alva to be the closest thing he had to a friend, and more of a father than his own dad had ever been.[4] Believing he should receive a higher share of the profits he generated, Curtis asked Alva for a pay raise and found out what the old man really thought of him.[4] Alva had absolutely no respect for Curtis as anything other than a useful servant, and regarded their relationship as dog and master.[4]

Enraged, Curtis tried to quit his position but was contractually obliged to never work for a competing company.[4] Instead, he turned to blackmail. Searching for a blight on Alva's record, he instead discovered that his boss was a complete monster who was also a major figure in the covert international crime network S.Y.S.T.E.M..[4][5] After submitting the evidence he had found to the proper authorities, Curtis was completely ignored. The level of power and corruption Alva had achieved permeated the legal system, and made it impossible for him to be taken down by conventional means.[4] Instead, Curtis decided to bring him down himself. Making use of the vast technological resources at his disposal, he created an advanced suit of armor that allowed him to fight against the criminal enterprises of his enemy by night, using the alter-ego Hardware.[4] Alva struggled every night against the high-tech dreadnought, unaware that he is funding his own arch-nemesis, who operates out of his basement.[4]

From the beginning of his career, Hardware battled with all types of villains, most of whom were hired by Alva to kill him. From the body doubling assassin Reprise[4] to the tech-inspired Technique[6], none of them could best the armored avenger. Within months, Hardware relentlessly picked Alva's organization to pieces, costing him millions of dollars. However, one day Edwin Alva discovered Hardware's true identity and appeared in his hideout![7] Alva's original rage turned into something else. Impressed by Curtis' tactical abilities and courage to stand up to him, Alva made him a stunning offer.[8] In return for Hardware's protection and occasional help, Curtis would be made his second-in-command and allow him to dismantle Alva's criminal organization. Curtis accepted the deal, believing he could shut down the bad parts of Alva Industries and S.Y.S.T.E.M. easier this way.[8] But first, he would need new armor...[2]

New Armor, New Beginnings

In the months that followed, Alva seem to be living up to his end of the bargain, divesting from his criminal operations and training Curtis in the intricacies of running a multinational corporation. Deciding to go out with a bang, Alva decided to announce his retirement at the grand opening of Utopia Park. But when riots break out, Alva decided to take the safety of Utopia Park into his own hands. Donning a new prototype armor, Alva sacrificed his life to save a group of people from being crushed.


Abilities

  • Martial Arts: Curtis Metcalf is a good hand-to-hand combatant, having been trained by his father in the martial arts.[3]
  • Firearms: Skilled in the use of various types of firearms of his own design.

Equipment

Hardware 020

Comparison of Hardware Version 1.0 (left) and Version 2.0

  • The Hardware: All of Curtis Metcalf's superhuman abilities derive from a sophisticated suit of armor called the Hardware. There have been several different versions, labeled 2.0, 3.0 et cetera.
    • Shell: The basic armor is a plasticized metal alloy of Curtis' own design. Using a device called the Shell Forge, Hardware coats his body from head to toe with this material.
      • Superhuman Durability: Once polarized, the shell serves as a skintight, impact-resistant foundation upon which his external armor rests.[4] Though not bulletproof, the shell is highly bullet resistant and can easily shrug off small caliber gunfire. It also has ablative capabilities that offer protection against low-level energy attacks like electricity and laser beams.[2]
      • Superhuman Strength: The shell has programmable polymers integrated into its structure.[2] Initially, the shell amplified Curtis's strength fifty fold, meaning that he could lift (press) 5 tons under optimal conditions.[2] However, Hardware's battle with the SYSTEMatic Mark III indicates that Curtis has significantly increased the shell's strength augmentation abilities.[10]
    • External armor: The external systems of Hardware's armor are stored within the nano-robot housing pods in his helmet and shoulder pads. These systems are constructed by nano-robots, microscopic machines that are released via main control systems in the helmet. The external armor is powered by high efficiency batteries called power packs installed in the shoulder pads.[2][10]

Transportation

  • Curtis' Personal Car: When he became Hardware, Curtis Metcalf was initially reluctant to use his personal car for crimefighting.[2] However, he soon realized his car would be useful in situations like undercover operations in which his other vehicles like the Skylark would be too conspicuous.[11] To this end, Curtis made extensive modifications to the car to improve its effectiveness as a crimefighting vehicle.[11][2]
    • Curtis has owned two cars. The first was a 1992 Lotus Esprit, which was destroyed by the costumed assassin Volt in an unsuccessful attempt to kill Metcalf.[11][12] The second was a 1996 Dodge Viper GTS, which first saw action when Hardware aided his father Mitch Metcalf in bringing the crime boss Top Dog to justice.[13] This car was destroyed by a missile fired by one of Top Dog's henchmen.[14] He did not immediately replace it with a third car.[15]

Weapons

  • The Hardware: The armor comes with a versatile arsenal of weapons and tools.
    • Omnicannon
    • Plasma Whip
    • Retractable Sword
    • PLASER (Plasma Laser)
    • Energy Field
    • Fluid Gun
  • Custom Handgun: In his civilian identity, Curtis usually has carried a traditional handgun for self-defense.[16] However, he increasingly found himself facing superhuman foes that could not be defeated with a mere gun. So, Curt began developing high-tech, easily concealable weapons to fulfill this need. Most notable of these is his watch, whose face flips up to reveal a hidden compartment containing a miniature version of his Omnicannon shell.[16] In weapon mode, the watch uses pressurized gas to propel the shell toward a target with enough explosive force to destroy a car.[16][17] Due to its small size, the watch only has enough ammo for one shot and lacks computer targeting systems, requiring Curt to manually aim it.[17] A pressure field of Curt's design prevents the mini-shell from being accidentally detonated if he bangs the watch against a wall or similar hard surface.[17]

Related


Footnotes


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Milestone Media
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This article is related to Milestone Media, a sub-division of DC Comics, that published the self-contained "Dakotaverse" under its own logo. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Milestone Media" category.


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