06th Sep2018

‘Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer #3’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Max Allan Collins | Art by Marcelo Salaza, Marcio Freire | Published by Titan Comics


Before jumping into the review proper, a quick observation about recap pages or ‘what’s come before’ text in the front of books. As readers, we both like and need them. I reviewed the first issue of Mike Hammer a couple of months ago, but managed to miss issue 2 along the way, real life intruding as it does on your time. So, I sit down to start reading Issue 3, expecting a few brief lines of recap on Page 1. Nothing. Nada. As I read quite a few comics every month, I’m not really able to pick up everything from two issues ago, then fill in the gaps as to what happened last issue, and jump in to this issue. As a consequence, I can review the issue in front of me, but may be missing some ongoing plots. Which irritates me. Recap pages please Titan.

But, I digress.

So, Mike Hammer and creator Mickey Spillane are probably the poster boys for the Hard Case imprint, the type of book it is looking to showcase, and Max Allen Collins isn’t exactly a slouch either. The first issue was a great start, and from what I’ve read catching up on the second issue, that was pretty good too. So, high bar already set. We start with the repercussions from last issue, where new client Helen Venn is being kept safe, and Hammer’s secretary Velda is patching Mike up after his run in with mobster Carmen Rich’s top goon, Buddy Whiteman. Helen is wanted dead by the mob, as she has records that could incriminate a whole lot of people, and Rich seems to think she has $10 million of his money.

Mike still seems a little unsure about Helen, as though she isn’t giving him the whole story. This being crime noir, though, the femme fatale soon has him in bed. Genuine attraction? Just trying to distract Mike from thinking too hard? hmmm. She certainly seems to be placing a marker down, asking Mike to leave with her and be her bodyguard. That’s for another time, as Mike suddenly realises that Velda has gone missing. She hasn’t turned up when she should have, and hasn’t been seen. Looks like Mike is heading for another confrontation with Carmen Rich. Or maybe not, at least not yet.

Rich’s number two has appeared, with an offer for Hammer. He wants Rich dead, and wants Hammer to kill him. In return, he’ll give up the location of Velda. She had been kidnapped by some Cubans working for Rich, and the plan was to offer Velda as an exchange for Velda, but to actually kill everyone at the planned meet up. Mike agrees, and sets off for the location he’s been given. Amazingly, not a trap for once. Mike gets there just in the nick of time, as a tied up Velda looks to be too tempting for the Cubans guarding her. Mike does his thing, and so does Velda, gunning down bad guys in stockings and suspenders. Now that’s an image. Now Velda’s rescued, everything’s fine, right? Er, no. Seems Rich’s people know the ‘safe’ location Helen is being kept. Not good.

Another solid issue, with great dialogue from Max Allan Collins and outstanding art from Salaza and Friere. Collins has a ridiculously good understanding of this era, the classic riffs of good crime noir (bit of light bondage, fisticuffs, rain, night action etc), and delivers in spades. The retro artwork just adds to the story, and pulls you even more into this world. The actual story itself is relatively light on originality, but the atmosphere is everything.

Smart, sassy, sexy. Can only be Hammer time.

**** 4/5


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