Black Hammer #1 Review

GameStop, Inc.

BlackHammer1BLACK HAMMER #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Release:  07/20/2016

A new story from the prodigious brain of Jeff Lemire (Descender), amazingly realized by Dean Ormston (The Sandman) and Dave Stewart (Hellboy)! Once they were heroes, but that age has long since passed. Banished from existence by a multiversal crisis, the old champions of Spiral City—Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien—now lead simple lives in a timeless farming town. Even as they try to find their way home, trouble has a unique way of finding heroes wherever they are!

Black Hammer #1 begins with a bold and slanted title header that makes you feel like you are watching ads for one of these old classic movies from the black and white movie era! After the title card, we are told that “They were the greatest heroes of a lost era: Golden Age crime buster ABRAHAM SLAM! Interstellar adventurer COL. WEIRD and his robot sidekick TALKY WALKY! BARBALIEN, warlord from Mars! GOLDEN GAIL, America’s super-sweetheart! MADAM DRAGONFLY, mistress of the macabre! And BLACK HAMMER, the invincible champion of the streets! But the Age of heroes have passed…”

Black Hammer #1 is the newest creator owned titles written by Jeff Lemire.  We are wondering what is going on with all of these heroes, and why.  Each of these heroes were forced into retirement after their biggest and greatest battle of their lives; not only are they retired, but they are also confined and they seem to be stranded on this farm and the community that surrounds it.   What makes this the most interesting is that each of these characters have their own voice; each hero is the usual archetype of a team and has their own personality that stands out.  They also seem as if they have become a family living together.

BlackHammer1VariantDean Ormston was a great pick for the artist of these series; one could assume that he did a lot of background research on farm living for this book, or possibly he has this experience himself growing up.  The story is modern, yet they live on a farm (with a barn complete with all the tools you would expect inside), a water tower, and plenty of land.  When they get into town, it looks fairly standard and stereotypical.  It’s just a small valley downtown, possibly built in the 1920’s, with a nice view of the mountains in the background.   Ornston has a way with characters faces and their expressions, particularly with the Sheriff character.  I found it funny how he is made out to be one of these Sherrif’s from a Mayberry- type town, but he always seems to come off as a complete ass. Every panel has him in a different expression from funny, neutral, serious, and pissed.  There are other weird character designs but it works with this story and its background, it is also brought out and helped by Dave Stewart’s color; it all just gives it a very melancholy tone in story but changes with each scene.

  • 9/10
    Story - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
8.5/10

The Verdict

Black Hammer #1 is shows that there are different kinds of superhero books, and this is definately one of them. It kind of gave me the feeling that it could have almost been an alternate take on The Watchmen Except also an alternate future of them all retiring together and trying to live there peacefully. The issue ends letting us know that this is now the 10th anniversary of them saving Spiral City. And someone, somewhere off in a bigger city is going to come out and try to prove their existence and find them.

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