Spinning out of Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston is a mind-bending new superhero/sci-fi series, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog. This emotional debut issue, written by Lemire and illustrated/lettered by Tyler Crook, features the eponymous character stumbling through time and phases of his life. Will readers who have not yet dipped into the Black Hammer universe be able to follow this trippy series?
Though confusing at first, as this was my first foray into Lemire's Black Hammer titles, the shape of Colonel Weird: Cosmagog comes sharply into focus about halfway through, and then, suddenly, everything in the preceding pages makes sense. Weird is an interesting, emotional character and even though there's not a whole lot we know about him from this one issue, seeing him cascade through his life is riveting. We see him as a red-faced kid sent to the store for bread, almost scared to hold the hope that the owner will give him a free soda. We see him in an all-out superhero battle with Anti-God. Throughout many different phases of his life, we see him until he is then literally faced with all of the different people he's been. Without knowing much about him, his powers, or how he got here, it's still easy to feel for him. Looking back, we've all been different people and, personally, when I think about the things I thought, the people I knew, the things I loved… sometimes, the feeling I have when I realize I'm not that person anymore isn't far from mourning. That feeling, that mourning of self, seems to be what this book is wrought from.
On top of emotionally evocative writing, the art of Colonel Weird: Cosmagog is just stellar. Funny enough, it brings to mind Lemire's own interior work in general, but it's not derivative in any way. It's more that Lemire and Tyler Crook both ride the line of realism and stylized cartooning, with wide shots seeing characters' eyes become dots while close-ups are fully rendered. The artwork from Crook is dynamic, alive in these pages, mining Jeff Lemire's script for emotion. The superhero sequences are every bit as stunning as a Marvel comic, but I just can't shake the scene between Weird's young self, Randy, at the shop. The amount here that's unsaid in the dialogue but expressed in the Crook's character acting is terrific here and throughout.
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog may be disorienting at first for those unfamiliar with Black Hammer, but once you get your footing, it's a hell of a read that will make you excited to seek out more.