Skulldigger is dressed as a looming skeleton, showing echoes of the Punisher, but unlike the Punisher, Skulldigger doesn’t use guns. Instead, he has a large metal skull on the end of a long metal chain that he swings around and beats people to a pulp with.
We pick up our story in typical Batman fashion with a young boy left alive after his two parents have been killed by a lowlife thug. Skulldigger shows up, and their fates are entwined, but that’s not all. Detective Reyes, who seems to have experienced the world of Skulldigger first-hand, has her own throughline in this story, and it’s not seeing Skulldigger as the hero that her superiors might believe he is.
Despite the violent anti-hero angle, this first issue is pretty solemn, focusing on a sort of sadness, regret, or anger that lingers within each character. Tonci Zonjic creates something almost poetic with his images, with the panels growing smaller or larger and Steve Wands’ lettering lingering in their open spaces. It’s a really thoughtfully laid out comic, but what else would I expect with something that takes place in the world of Black Hammer. This is a world that takes concepts we know and love and spins them until they shed the comic book, superhero veneer until we have something human again.
Zonjic’s use of colors alone creates a melancholy affair for readers. With the direction the issue heads by the end juxtaposed with Detective Reyes' internal concerns, it feels like we’re going to turn the vigilante anti-hero tropes on their heads in the coming months, and I’m already on board.
Creative team: Jeff Lemire (writer), Tonci Zonjic (artist), Steve Wands (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Chuck Howitt (assistant editor), Patrick Satterfield (design)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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