Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1

SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1 (of 2)
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

CREATOR: Mike Mignola
STORY: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
ART: Jason Latour
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S. (March 2013)

Part 1 of 2

Mike Mignola adds to the vast world of Hellboy with Sledgehammer, a new superhero character he created. Think of Sledgehammer as Mignola’s version, spin, or take on Iron Man. Now, the character appears in a new two-issue, comic book micro-series, entitled Sledgehammer 44. The series is written by Mignola and John Arcudi, drawn by Jason Latour, colored by Dave Stewart, and lettered by Clem Robins, with covers by Mignola.

Sledgehammer 44 #1 opens in August 1944 in D’ebene Chiot, France. An American military patrol prepares to take a German armory there, but the Americans are really just support troops. The military is about to launch “Project Epimetheus.” This is Sledgehammer, a man in a suit of iron armor, and he’s ready to fight his way through an army of Nazis and take on their massive war machine.

Call it the Hellboy-verse or the Mignola-verse, but by any name, Dark Horse Comics’ line of Mike Mignola-produced comic books is simply wonderful. In the first issue of Sledgehammer 44, Mignola and Arcudi have produced a cleanly written, straightforward story. Its mix of World War II combat, science fiction, fantastic armor, and menacing robots seems natural. Having supernatural machines battle it out in a French village in 1944 does not seem odd, as if that makes sense in the context of a real world WWII.

The stars of Sledgehammer 44’s creative team are artist Jason Latour and colorist Dave Stewart. Latour produces page after page of eye-poppy graphics, and compositionally, Latour opens up the story in big panels that capture the massiveness and power of Sledgehammer in battle. Stewart, whom I consider to be on the shortlist of truly great modern comic book colorists, makes the art crackle with energy and surge with an electric charge.

Honestly, at just two-issues in length, Sledgehammer 44 should be a one-shot instead of two issues. Latour and Stewart’s art is so robust, however, that the ending of the first issue is a break your eyes and mind will need.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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