Review: Sledgehammer 44 – Lightning War #1 (of 3)

It’s always interesting to read a new Mignolaverse title because seeing where it fits in is interesting. This series in particular is set in an era that the rest of the universe has its feet heavily planted in. Clearly Mignola and Arcudi knew that when they started with the character, but this issue we begin to see the dots connected and its fucking fun. This is a series that’s for the fans 100% because even though there are editor notes people who have been following the universe for decades are just going to be delighted to see all the different elements included here. When we last saw Sledgehammer 44 (who is called something completely different I’m sure) he was no longer the man who was inside the suit. Instead the consciousness of the deceased Private Redding had entered the body and the human inside stopped exiting. We learn all this as a very familiar Professor comes to help with Redding who has done very little since returning from France. They bring him new missions daily, but he never takes them and so they’re trying to decide if there’s even a human consciousness inside.

Meanwhile the Nazi’s have enlisted a man who has been kept in captivity and was also familiar looking, to help in their task. One of his tasks is to steal an early stealth bomber from the America’s which he does while the plane is in flight and with nothing other than himself to get him there. He captures the plane and the pilot and now they want Sledge to get the plane back… and the pilot.

Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #1 CoverI’m leaving out so much of this story that it’s ridiculous, but it would spoil too much to tell you and make for a very long review. If you read any of Mignola and Arcudi’s Mignolaverse titles then you know the story structure that the books usually have. This issue is a bit different. It’s pacing isn’t very shocking, but it does favor an old-school pulp style. It works incredibly well and makes this issue stand out for the other titles in the Mignolaverse.

I’m not familiar with Laurence Campbell’s name, but it looks vaguely familiar. I enjoyed his art as it gave the series a different look and vibe from the rest of the universe. There were bright moments in this issue and that honestly made it look more like a World War II era story. I know that sounds dumb, but there is a look and feel that has become associated with that era and Laurence with Dave Stewart’s coloring have captured it perfectly.

You don’t need to have read the first Sledgehammer 44 series to enjoy this one; in fact I think they’re counting on most people having missed that series. There is a great recap to that series within the dialogue of this issue, but even still there is something fresh and new about the issue. Check it out if you’re a Mignola fan or you’re looking for a WWII story fix.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi Artist: Laurence Campbell Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/27/13