Happy Hellboy Week everyone! Today I’ll be looking at the Sledgehammer 44 books, specifically the second published mini-series, Lightning War.
Laurence Campbell handles the artwork on this run to great effect and Dave Stewart’s inks are magnificent. The combination of these two artists really sets and maintains the tone throughout the book, the muted colour scheme emphasizing key moments with flashes of brightness; the red band of a nazi uniform, blood splattered against glass, explosions and gunfire.
That’s one thing that Dark Horse does a lot better than the majors and a lot of the indies; spinoff miniseries. Perhaps this is because it doesn’t have to constantly re-envisage its big picture on account of longevity like DC or Marvel, or perhaps it’s simply because the core vision for the world is controlled a lot more closely by Dark Horse’s central players. Either way, the publisher is able to achieve a satisfying congruence that rarely leaves the reader frustrated or lost in the mythos.
This book is a good example of that mission statement. It doesn’t have an incredible amount of emotional depth, which is understandable for a 3-issue miniseries, but it makes up for that in style and entertainment value. Ultimately, Mignola and co deliver a lot of action and a fun book with some really interesting voices and sometimes that’s what you need, someone amusing pounding Nazis in the face… in style. So, for some good, clean, bad-meets-evil biffo, look no further.