Written by Tim Midura
and Frank Miller
on Wednesday, November 27 2013 and posted in Reviews
Does Captain Fields have any humanity left?
Starting the new arc titled Lightning War, Project Epimetheus returns in Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #1 of 3, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, with art by Laurence Campbell and colors by Dave Stewart. The cover by Mike Mignola shows “Mignola’s Iron Man,” Sledgehammer, in classic drab colors, with a trail of blood-red Nazi flags behind him.
After a messy mission in France, Captain Fields, a.k.a. Sledgehammer, has become withdrawn and is insubordinate. He only responds to the name Redding, and hasn’t left the Vril suit in two months. Meanwhile in Germany, Hitler meets with the Black Flame in regards to taking down a secret Allied plane. It’s up to Helena Gallaragas, daughter of the creator of the Vril Energy Suit, to motivate Sledgehammer to rescue the pilot, who is assuredly being tortured by the Nazis over information pertaining to his flight.
Mike Mignola and John Arcudi craft an earnest narrative with Captain Fields at the forefront. Fields’ actions show him as a man racked with guilt over an inability to save his squadmates. His flashbacks are well written, showcasing how his mission went awry in France, dripping with soldiers asking for assistance. After a lengthy discussion with Trevor Bruttenholm about whether Fields is still human or pure machine, Mignola and Arcudi brilliantly have Miss Gallaragas try to appeal to what humanity he has left.
Laurence Campbell’s art recalls a more detailed Mignola; his faces are remarkable. The emotion he pulls from even a man in an iron suit sitting with his helmeted head slumped is amazing. The overall tone of the book is very dark, fitting Fields’ mood. Most of Mignola’s books are gloomy, but Sledgehammer 44 brings the proverbial hammer down. The only warm colors are the fire from the war panels and gunshots, followed by bright red blood.
Miss Gallaragas’ recollection of her torture and subsequent rescue by an unnamed hero, with a quick action pose of my favorite crustacean-themed vigilante, Lobster Johnson, brought a smile to my face. The addition of a science-based character into a magic-heavy universe is very welcome. It’ll be fun to see those two archetypes doing battle!
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