Sledgehammer ’44 #2

by lucstclair on April 10, 2013

Trapped & cornered in a village barn, a group of American WW2 soldiers and a very large empty armour (which was previously an active war machine) make their final stand against a small Nazi army. Will the Sledgehammer end up in Hitler’s clutches or will he rise up against tyranny and save the day?

The Team

Written by Mike Mignola (Hellboy in Hell) & John Arcudi (The Creep, A God Somewhere). Illustrated by Jason Latour (Noche Roja, Untold Tales of Punisher Max). Published by Dark Horse.

The Pros & Cons

Mike Mignola sure loves his WW2 settings. Just read Hellboy or B.P.R.D., it’s all there. With elements like ancient powers & the occult, we’re used to seeing this kind of material. This story’s about how the Americans have harnessed a special suit of armour, mystical in nature and maybe some science as well, to use as a war tool against the Nazis. Code named Sledgehammer, is a one man army with a devastating arsenal, but not completely invincible. The suit seems to be powered by a man’s soul or his life essence if you prefer. Original right? You would think that, but you’d be wrong.
There’s also some elements taken directly from the Rocketeer movie. Nazis trying to steal and hopefully duplicate an apparatus to strap to its soldiers to give them an advantage against their enemies. I’ve seen this plot device many times, but I can forgive that. What I have a problem with is this. It’s been done before. Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston’s The Coffin by Oni Press (click here for my review) does a much better job with the same material. Grant it, It’s a different time and setting, but it focuses more on a man’s essence or spirit that’s locked away in a mysterious & powerful suit of armour. Not to mention moments of the supernatural added for good measure. It has wonderful characters, colourful villains and a great story.
I guess it didn’t help matters that I didn’t enjoy Jason Latour’s illustrations. They were a constant distraction and I couldn’t concentrate on the flow of the story. The only saving grace for this comic was the camaraderie between the soldiers, a real sense of Band of Brothers that reminded me of the boys from Light Brigade by Peter J. Tomasi & Peter Snejbjerg (another awesome book). These friendships were the heart of this story. Oh and the Mike Mignola covers are always sweet as cherry pie.

The Outcome

I hate to compare a comic to another, but there’s nothing here that grabbed me. I think Mike Mignola is one hell of a creator & writer, but this feels uninspired to say the least. Not even a surprise guest star from Mignola’s creations could save this comic. This issue gets a 5 and so does both issues.

Our Score:


A Look Inside