Dark Horse Comics 2020
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated & Lettered by Tyler Crook
From the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series comes a bizarre sci-fi adventure origin story! Wacky space adventurer Colonel Randall Weird leaves Black Hammer farm and embarks on a strange journey through space and time for something that he's long forgotten with his sanity and life at stake!
I have been waiting for this to come out! For whatever reason of all them the Colonel is just plain fascinating. He’s forgetful, seemingly unreliable and has aged beyond any of the others and he’s remained as mysterious as they come while we enjoyed Black Hammer as they were on the farm he stood out among them. So I was excited for this and ya know what this is everything I could have hoped for and oh so much more! This is why we love these guys, follow their work and talk about it like we do. Now no worries if you haven’t been reading anything else because this is a great stand alone as it is written and you’ll learn everything you need to so if you haven’t then you need to jump on board now!
I love the way that this is being told. How the story & plot development come to life through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information while moving ever forward is brilliantly done. The character development is everything! How we see him and how we get to know him is basically the whole issue in and of itself. This is fascinating, eerie and slightly spooky considering he acts much like someone with dementia or Alzheimer's and you can feel for him, empathise and connect with him on so many levels. The pacing here is utterly fabulous and as it takes us through the pages revealing what this is about we cannot help but be swept up in his life. How the story is being structured and how we see the layers within playing their parts make this such an extraordinary read.
I don’t know what it is about Tyler’s work but the more he does the better he gets. The interiors that we see here are stunningly gorgeous. The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the attention to detail is breathtaking. Then how he’s able to enhance the detail work that we see through the way he utilises colour is just next level genius ability. The way that backgrounds are utilised throughout do more than expand the moment and bring us emotions they provide us with depth perception, a sense of scale and this overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is just mindbogglingly well rendered. How we see the hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is extraordinarily well done. The feelings and emotions the work is able to bring to the reader is sublime.
This is a spectacular journey through the mind and life of Colonel Weird and it starts to bring him to life in some truly unexpected ways. That nothing about him is something that happens in a straight line is marvellous as he travels through time and space so often that he’s now unable to think in a linear fashion. I knew this was going to be good but I had no idea it was going to be this good. Jeff’s created a whole new full functioning universe filled with interesting and dynamic characters that far surpass their inspiration.