Written by Tim Midura
on Friday, December 27 2013 and posted in Reviews
The Black Flame vs. Sledgehammer 44!
Reaching the midway point of its latest arc, Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #2 of 3, from Dark Horse Comics, with the A-list cast of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Laurence Campbell, and Dave Stewart, is released. The muted cover by Campbell and Stewart is simply Sledgehammer 44 falling on a yellow background with stark black Nazi imagery.
After his plane is shot down, Sledgehammer 44 is falling to earth when he is caught mid air by The Black Flame. After escaping The Black Flame, Sledgehammer 44 has to find Major Elroy, who is being tortured by the Nazis. Then, they need to rendezvous with an Allied plane waiting for them at the extraction point.
With his faith in humanity restored, co-writers Mignola and Arcudi have Captain Fields bravely fighting to rescue Major Elroy. After the torture, mimicking the first issue, Major Elroy is now the one feeling guilty. I like how The Black Flame refers to Captain Fields inside Sledgehammer 44 as “the turtle.” It’s a funny term of endearment. The idea of transferring thoughts through electrical brain caps is classic science fiction.
The opening page’s panel of the laboratory is great in detail, showing off Laurence Campbell’s talent. The majority of the issue is the fight between Sledgehammer 44 and The Black Flame, falling through the sky, leaving sole focus on the two of them. It’s an intense battle with The Black Flame dominating, cutting a mean figure against the night sky. My favorite panel is of Major Elroy’s reaction to the Nazi’s revelation that the Allies know where they are. His beaten face is sinister as he laughs at the Nazi’s fate. Dave Stewart’s colors are mostly dark blues and browns, fitting the nighttime background. One of the few bright moments is the plane’s explosion filling the night sky with yellows and oranges.
The Black Flame is a menacing villain. With the power of flight and near superhuman abilities, it’ll be interesting to see how Sledgehammer 44 will take him down. Ending with Sledgehammer 44 at a disadvantage, I can’t wait to see him turn the tide of battle!
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