Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artwork, Lettering: Tyler Crook
Release Date: 28th October 2020
Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer Universe is unquestionably the gift that keeps on giving, and with the announcement that Lemire would be teaming up with the supremely talented Tyler Crook (of Harrow County fame) on a “bizarre sci-fi adventure origin story” for one of my favourite BH characters Randall Weird, there was absolutely no doubt I was going to pick it up as soon as I possible could. But with the incredibly high bar set already by the preceding Black Hammer tie-ins, spin-offs, and the Eisner Award-winning main series itself, could “Cosmagog” live up to the hype? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
First off, let’s talk about Crook’s contributions to this story, with his rich, painterly style working wonders to add depth, texture and emotion into every single panel of this twisty-turny narrative. Taking us on a journey through Randall life, as well as his fractured psyche, Crook brings each version of the Colonel to life confidently, showing naïve innocence, brave optimism and harrowed angst as Weird’s life unfolds in a typically scattershot style.
Crook also does a typically strong job with the colours and lettering, with the former showing the juxtaposition between sleepy backwoods towns, ravaged cities and the depths of space beautifully, and the latter keeping things flowing smoothly and underscoring the key beats while maintaining Weird’s familiar broken speech patterns.
The story itself is every bit as unconventional as its leading man, and unlike a lot of other offerings from the World of Black Hammer, feels like it leans fairly heavily on a prior knowledge of the main storyline. As we’ve seen in both Black Hammer and Age of Doom, Weird tends to pop in and out of continuity during his endless journey through time and space, showing up to provide a passing comment before disappearing again, and this series does its best to fill in some of the gaps between these fleeting appearances.
There’s definitely something tragic and undeniably human about the character, and in spite of the epic scope, this does feel more like a personal, emotional story than a fantastical one – even though the crazy cosmic elements are very much in full effect. We also get to find a little bit more about Weird’s childhood and the key moments along the way that left him as the confused, bewildered husk we all know and love.
Honestly, if you’ve read any of the main series, you’re likely already planning on picking this one up. Cosmagog brings the best qualities of its leading man to the page, making for a fantastic read. It’s touching and exciting and confusing and pretty much essential reading for any Black Hammer fan out there. Don’t miss it.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]