Mike Mignola, creator of the beloved character Hellboy, has just released the first issue of his newest project; Sledgehammer 44. Toted as Iron Man during World War II, this book has a lot of potential, especially from someone with as much experience as Mignola. Does it live up to this potential? Find out with your Major Spoilers review!
Issue one sets up the entire premise very well and very effectively, a squad of American soldiers act as back up for the metal man known as Sledgehammer as he takes on the Nazi forces, leaving just enough mystery and ambiguity to keep the reader hooked. The pacing is fantastic, it manages to deliver a story that felt worth an entire issue, and left on a perfect cliff hanger for the next issue. The whole thing is also incredibly fun, with so much unknown about the hero I was genuinely curious about just how strong the hero was, how much punishment he could take, and that questioning turned into suspense once the action started. One problem is that I believe this is going to be a two issue mini, and if it continues like this it will just end up as a very shallow piece. Sure its fun so far, but this was very much a set-up issue, and I do not feel like enough was set up for a satisfying conclusion to occur in just one more issue.
The art is very obviously trying to ape Mignola’s style, at least in basic aesthetics and coloring techniques. Latour brings an extra level of detail that I often felt was missing from Mignola’s art, and I feel like this issue is better for it. One thing that specifically stands out is facial expressions, they are very well done, and manage to convey the intended emotion without being over detailed. There is also a wonderful use of sound effects, blending them seamlessly into the background, giving them a kind of subliminal feeling. Lighting is also really well done, used to great effect throughout the book both to denote power of varying magnitudes and in various palettes to effectively set the tone from panel to panel. The panel layout itself is nothing particularly unique, but it has a sort of clean feeling to it that really adds something to the story.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH PICKING UP
If the premise seemed interesting or fun to you then pick it up, it will deliver on it. If you are a fan of Mike Mignola, then definitely pick it up, since it just oozes with his signature storytelling style. The $3.50 price point has me a little hesitant to suggest that everyone go pick it up, but if you think you will like then you should definitely try it.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!