SKULLDIGGER & SKELETON BOY #2
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Tonci Zonjic
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Dark Horse
Join me as we once again, walk through the seedy underbelly of Spiral City. It is here, in this dark era, that we see the exploits of Skulldigger and his new sidekick, Skeleton Boy. Lemire and Zonjic are crafting what might be the best Hammerverse book yet. Two issues in and I've literally been poring over every page to absorb everything this book has to offer.
Like I said this book mirrors/homages Batman: Year One and is an obvious "love letter" to Frank Miller, but is still unique in it's own right. Skulldigger is a much more violent vigilante than Spiral City is used too and I fucking love it. Lemire is channeling some real grit and noir vibes on this one and executed it perfectly. It makes me wonder what he could do on full on detective/noir Batman story.
The book opens up with Skulldigger watching the news, looking for his next victim. But just in the other room is the young boy he has locked up and is training as his sidekick. Soon the young boy decides to fight back and ends up getting his ass handed to him. It's interesting that while this boy wanted to go with him, he still wants Skulldigger dead. Lemire has created a real interesting scenario/relationship vetween these two.
Having kidnapped the young boy he saved last issue, Detective Reyes continues her search to take down Skulldigger. But she won't be getting any help from her police department, they see Skulldigger as a hero since he kills the "people who deserve it", but Reyes doesn’t agree. She takes on the case anyways as she seeks to take down the vigilante and save the young boy. Lemire's characterization of Reyes is fantastic and reminds me of Renee Montoya from the Batman books. Zonjic elevates it with his use of body language and close-ups. She's a complete badass and doesn't take shit from anyone, including her useless police chief. I could read a whole mini-series centered around her character.
Ok, back to the training. This pages were the best part of the book for me. Zonjic got really creative with the way he did the layout an coloring. Every time the boy was fighting it was black and white, but when he got hit it turned to blood red. It was also clever of letterer Steve Wands to change the ettering stye every time the boy was narrating. The following training sequences were also laid out in a really unique way that rally jumped off the page. Zonjic's art is a force to be reckoned with.
The end of the book sees the return of the villainous Grimjack as he takes over a political rally. The boy insists on coming to help, but Skulldigger turns him down. Obviously he's not gonna listen, but at the same time I'm sure Lemire will put some crazy spin on the events that we won't see coming.
This book has been fantastic over these last two issues and is really turning the vigilante/superhero tropes on it's head. If you're tired of the same old stuff from the "Big Two", come over to the Hammerverse and you won't only satiate your superhero needs, but you'll never wanna leave. Lemire has proven to the world that this is how you start, and sustain, an new superhero universe.