Title: Colonel Weird: Cosmagog.
Series: The World of Black Hammer #5.
Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Artist(s): Tyler Crook.
Letterer(s): Tyler Crook.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: February 9th 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Also in The World of Black Hammer:
Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil by Jeff Lemire.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer ’45 by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes.
Since Jeff Lemire’s and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer project, this Dark Horse Comics imprint universe has grown in various directions on top of completing its original run. Several additional story arcs, sometimes handled by writers other than Jeff Lemire himself, have also been released to further explore characters, settings, and stories within this world that pays homage to superhero comic book stories. The latest spin-off installment within The World of Black Hammer presents fans with writer Jeff Lemire (Descender, Sweet Tooth, Essex County) and artist Tyler Crook (Harrow County, The Sixth Gun) teaming up to focus on one of the most mysterious heroes of Spiral City as he’s off on an uncomfortable journey through time and space to find answers to questions he does not yet have.
What is Colonel Weird: Cosmagog about? Space adventurer Colonel Randall Weird continues to find himself unable to fight the strange forces at work as he teleports through time and space to unusually familiar places without a clue in the world as to what he should be doing. This time, deep down, he feels like he’s missing a piece of the puzzle to this fractured universe as he goes off wandering into his past and future, vainly trying to figure out what exactly he has forgotten and that he so desperately needs to remember as soon as possible. Collecting all four issues of this graphic novel, the story explores one man’s journey for answers, unfortunately, filled with fear, loneliness, and guilt.
“My Ma always says… When you lose something, the best way to find it again is by retracing your steps.”— Jeff Lemire
Within the Black Hammer series, Colonel Randall Weird was in fact quite weird. His character often appeared and disappeared like an untethered thought yet somehow, always held some kind of importance in the grand scheme of things. His tendency to be completely vague in his answers always seemed to hint that he had something to hide but never did we fully grasp his character as we do in this spin-off series that offers an origin story for the hero. Despite the attempt to elucidate his character’s mystery, we also find ourselves bombarded with additional questions, often feeling like the crevasse only grew in size rather than filled with answers.
Not only does his character revisit key moments of his life at a truly absurd pace and in an awkward fashion, going in and out of the Parazone when you least expect it, his character’s essence is also maintained throughout the story-telling format, showcasing his unshackled and unintelligible nature quite accurately. In fact, this story ultimately enlightens readers as to this hero’s role in facing the larger threat within this fractured universe while giving readers a better idea of his temporal and spatial predicament and its emotional toll on his psyche. It is this toll that could’ve benefited from a better, in-depth exploration for an overall better result.
In the same vein as Harrow County, artist Tyler Crook brings his A-game as he remains loyal to this series original artistic design while infusing with his own watercolour touch that brilliantly fits the purposefully confusing narrative. A sense of distortion of reality is also perfectly captured by the transition between panels but also the structure of said panels, never conforming to any traditional format. The sense of dread and disorientation in Colonel Weird’s character is also satisfyingly captured through his demeanour and facial expressions, essentially summarizing the reader’s own emotional states while going through this odd adventure.
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog is a wild and bizarre sci-fi adventure origin story that picks up a couple of loose ends along the way while tackling themes of loneliness and friendship.