Synopsis: An all-new Mike Hammer story, from a plot by original creator Mickey Spillane. From the writer of Quarry and Road to Perdition, Max Allan Collins.
Review: Writer Max Allan Collins and artist Marcelo Salaza continue their exploration of the seedy world of Mike Hammer. Chapter 2 or issue two picks things up from where the last issue left off. After shooting two hoods from Detroit to protect a blonde lady. Hammer takes her somewhere safe to learn her story.
She reveals that her name is Helen Venn and she used to do the bookkeeping for a gangster who was trying to go legit, which is why he was killed. She tells Hammer that she is being pursued by most of the gangsters in the area, but Carman Rich who owns the Zero Club wants her dead.
The story picks up as Mike begins to investigate Helen’s case and figures out a way to get to Carman Rich. The two have a history. Hammer shot out Carman’s kneecap a few years prior. It’s fair to say that there’s not much love lost there.
While trying to get access to Carman Mike meets the Police Captain and learns of another death, which may or may not be connected to the case. A homeless man called the Captain was killed shortly after Mike offed the two hoods and left the scene with Helen.
Again Max Allan Collins nails the dialogue and feel of the Mike Hammer character and his world. I loved. The panels in which Helen tells Mike her story were as racy as you’d expect and you have to wonder if she is completely on the level.
The confrontation between Mike and Carmon Rich is fantastic fun and the banter between the two is worth the build-up alone.
Marcelo Salaza is really strong in this issue. He captures the mood and noir world of Hammer perfectly. There’s a wonderful series of panels of Hammer and Helen naked on the bed with cigarette smoke tastefully protecting Helen’s modesty. There is also a wonderful fight sequence in which Mike dispatches Carman’s main goons. I also liked the panels in the Zero Clue with the jazz band playing. The artwork captured the mood perfectly.