Hello Dwellers and Welcome to Comics From The Basement…
Last week I went over Sledge Hammer #1, and it’s a great comic in my opinion…. However is issue #2 as good as the first… or does it act like the comic book version of season 2 of the show, which while good, just isn’t as good as the first season.
Published in March of 1988, this comic is for all intents and purposes, the final Sledge Hammer story produced… and it’s certainly stranger
First there is the cover, where we have Spider-man coming through the window yelling your history Hammer, as Sledge shoves Captain Trunk’s head down onto his own desk while proclaiming ‘Look Out Captain, it’s another Nutty Network Programmer!” Now this is just me putting some thought to it, but if this cover was done in today’s era, it would be ‘Look out Captain, it’s another insane interfering Editor!” At the bottom, we got some other fun tags “Hey Is that really The Amazing Spider-Man or a cheap trick to make you buy this comic”… and realizing it didn’t fool anyone, there’s this ‘Well how about if we told you Sledge was really a Mutant’ If he was a mutant, he wouldn’t be a brain-dead mutant, like the criminals he deal with… still the cover is great in terms of drawing attention to it.
Before we get to the story, should be noted that Jim Salicrup who wrote the first issue also did this one, with Alex Saviuk also being the penclier. So we got consistent writing and artwork working in this comic’s favor.
The story opens with a bit of a cop out on page one, seeming like it’s going to start at an apartment high-rise called the Faulty Tower, cause it’s built right on a fault line, with a character named Mary Hart-Stopper… who tells the reader to get out because they aren’t a Nielsen Family member… as in how they judge TV ratings… instead the story starts with a woman getting ready to watch some TV as Spider-Man climbs over the railing and attacking the woman… as a pro-wrestling match is on the TV with the commentary team supplying perfect commentary on the fight… which ends with the woman going to tackle Spider-Man, missing and goes plummenting out of a window…. And right down onto the roof Sledge Hammer’s car… and we get the title of this story… Illegal Weapons….
So if you’re a bit slow on the up-take… yeah this comic basically is a spoof of the first Lethal Weapon’s film that came out a year earlier in March of 1987…. I am not kidding. And this is kind of perfect timing with Fox about to debut it’s Lethal Weapon series on Wednesday of this week.
Sledge, who is a cop, figures something is up and begins to investigate and spots Spider-Man. Despite him having less that stelling opinions of then modern TV, like Mr. Beveldere… Sledge knows that at this point in time, that Spider-Man is wearing the black & white costume from the Secret Wars era… so Sledge is a Spider-Man fan, awesome. ‘Spidey’ tells Sledge that’s he’s on his way to a costume party and so Sledge lets him go… which Captain Trunk yells at him over… after saying the woman who put a dent in Sledge’s car is the daughter of the Prison Warden who is a good friend of Trunk….
Keep in mind I did say this was a spoof of Lethal Weapon.
And to get on that trend, an Oliver Naught (I’m assuming a parody of Oliver North) from the police-commissioner’s anti-corruption task force takes command of the station Sledge, Dori and Trunk work out of… and puts Trunk out in the field with Sledge… to get as close to the Murtaugh and Riggs as possible… and because Sledge Hammer makes Martin Riggs look like Richard Simmons… he is forced to surrender his .44 Magnum… and carry a smaller gun, similar in a way to the episode ‘Haven’t Gun Will Travel’… oh and Dori is re-assigned to help Naught
With this being A Lethal Weapon inspired story, Sledge brings someone down off of a ledge… by jumping off… and he and Trunk go to the Warden to find out the truth, that he’s being blackmailed to release prisoners early as part of a scheme by the Police Commissioner… and Spider-Man bursts in to take out the Warden, and tosses a bomb to take him out before escaping. However the Warden, Sledge and Trunk escape as the bomb explodes, leading the point in Lethal Weapon where ‘Riggs is dead’ bit is parodied. They tell Dori about it… but Oliver was listening in and he promptly reports it to the commissioner. Dori is captured and Sledge is informed that they’ll exchange her for the Warden…. Thus the plan is to have Sledge dress as the Warden.
However, we get another bit from Lethal Weapon that is parodied… Riggs doing a 3-stogges routine… except it’s Sledge beating up and arresting three guys who look like the 3 Stooges at a Christmas Tree Lot… and also Sledge missing his gun, much like how Riggs’s misses his wife….
The ‘exchange’ in the desert is done to parody the film, with a twist, that the Warden’s daughter Lucy is working with the Commissioner and Naught, Sledge and Trunk are captured… and even the torture scenes from the movie are parodied… with Trunk being beaten… while Sledge is getting… tickled (in replacement of the electric shocks Riggs got). Sledge gets freed much the same way Riggs did in the film. There’s a brawl with Sledge, Dori and Trunk taking out the villians of this tale…
And the comic ends… with Sledge and Spider-Man (really a pro-wrestler dressed up as the web slinger) fighting in the mud and rain, much like the film… and Sledge gets his gun back.
The Verdict: This comic is good, great event… but it’s not as good as the first issue that I went over last week, while that was basically poking fun of the 80s horror films… this one is taking the whiz out of one of the best damn Action Films of the modern era that helped put the mix-match partners turned buddies cop genre into the a staple of Hollywood for the next decade. So many notes are hit to basically parallel Lethal Weapon that you end up losing a lot, as Dori is basically left out of a good chunk of the story, being replaced by Trunk. Yes, on the show they did parodied a few films, but there was enough of a twist on what was being parodied.
A great example of this is Dori Day Afternoon, which hit a lot of key points from the film Dog Day Afternoon, but went in a different direction, such as having the bank robbers taking Sledge, Dori and the other bank hostages onto a plane and getting it in the air, where the tables are finally turned and Sledge managing to get the plane down fairly safely (while in the film, it ends in the on the tarmac of the airport).
So that said you can get this comic at mycomicshop.com for a $1.35, which is .35 cents more than the listed price on the comic in 1988.
Coming up here in the Basement… next week I will climb atop the fourth wall and review Titans: Scissors Paper Stone… yeah I’m breaking the rule I had about avoiding going over comics Linkara did… and in October, I will be going over all four trade volumes of iZombie… so the entire comic book run…. And also Katrina Hates The Dead from Wannabe Press. Not sure which order I’ll do them in yet.
Till next time my friends, and you are my friends, have a good one!