Every once in a while, an idea comes around that is perfect. This is one of those times. Sledgehammer 44 asks the important questions like: what if the Allies had invented Iron Man during WWII instead of Captain America? Mike Mignola (the man who brought us Hellboy, Lobster Johnson, and The Amazing Screw-On Head) and John Arcudi (writer of The Mask, B.P.R.D., and Barb Wire) do an incredible job of answering the question. Spoiler: It’s awesome. It is worth noting that this is not a comedy. While both of these creators have a history of blending large doses of humor into their work, Sledgehammer is a more sober look at the effect that sci-fi soldiers would have on a war.
The writing is so smart in this book. With other comics like Atomic Robo and Hellboy already addressing the strong and invulnerable giant working with regular soldiers angle (and doing a bang-up job), Sledgehammer 44 takes a different approach. Here the book focuses on the soldiers and telling a small story about one mission. It’s not quite Band of Brothers, but it’s definitely not a superhero story.
Jason Latour’s art works equally well depicting regular soldiers doing (mostly) regular soldiering and the more fantastical elements with giant robot suits. The colors, by Dave Stewart, are perfect. Seriously, perfect. The colors are primarily muted greys, greens, and sepias, and every single page is better because of them. This art team elevates an already awesome story, and the results are worth seeing.
There is something special about a comic book that does absolutely everything right. Here, the art is phenomenal, the script is marvelous, and the premise is incredible. I cannot recommend this one enough. Run, don’t walk, to your local comic shop.
Five Panzer-Killers out of Five