Sledgehammer 44 #1 (of 2)

by Sean Tonelli on March 13, 2013

Sledgehammer 44
2013 is going to be a big year for Mike Mignola and his Hellboy franchise. Hellboy himself is back in the limelight with the excellent Hellboy in Hell series, BPRD Hell on Earth is starting an exciting new arc, and Abe Sapien is also getting his own solo series penned exclusively by Mignola as well. All this and we haven’t even hit May yet! But one aspect of his Hellboy franchise has always bothered Mignola. The majority of the Hellboy mythology takes place at the tail end of World War II. Growing up as a fan of war serials, Mignola has longed to pay homage to the action packed tales of the past. Well the wait for Mignola and us is over with Sledgehammer 44.

Sledgehammer 44 is being billed as Mignola’s version of Iron Man during WWII and that’s a pretty fair assessment. The plot is very straight forward and wastes no time getting to the action. In fact, it starts right in the heat of battle as an American squadron serve as back-up for something they could never fathom; a giant robot that shoots electricity. The mission seems to be going swimmingly, until the Nazi’s show they aren’t the only ones with robotic technology. A great fight scene between Sledgehammer and a Nazi robot follows and ends with the seeming death of Sledgehammer. But just who or what lurks beneath the armour?   

Mignola and Arcudi have crafted a fun and simple story. This is an action packed comic that harkens back to the classic war tales of yesteryear. The premise of Sledgehammer 44 is so simple that any writer would have a hard time showing restraint, trying to make something grander than need be. The writers here are professionals with nothing to prove. They waste no time and cut right to the chase. If you are reading this series, you want to see a man in a robot suit kick Nazi ass and that is exactly what you get.

Jason Latour of Captain America fame is handling the art for the series and what an excellent choice he is. While I would have loved to see Mignola handle the art simply because I would love to see him draw everything, Latour’s style compliments the story perfectly. The art is extremely cartoony which adds to the fun of the book but the character design is the highlight. The soldiers each have a unique face and stand separate from each other, albeit Nazi or American. But most importantly, Sledgehammer himself (or itself) looks great. If he were an action figure, he would be on my desk. The colour palette is muted with greys and bronzes, which adds to the serialized effect. It’s as if we are watching an old movie reel or reading this story in an antique newspaper. This is a truly great effect that helps to whisk the reader into the creator’s mind-set.

Sledgehammer 44 is a great read for anyone who is a fan of fun, action-packed comics. Being only a two issue series, I already fear this may not be enough. Sledgehammer is an interesting character that you want to spend more time with. So please, do pick this up in hopes we’ll get to spend more time him.

Sledgehammer 44 #1 (of 2)
Writer: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art: Jason Latour
Colour: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover: Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Our Score:


A Look Inside