Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
What They Say:
The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns! Coming off the heels of the world-shattering revelations of the last issue, the Black Hammer team all are out of their element, literally.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Black Hammer went on a brief hiatus after wrapping up some of the previous storyline where we had a guest artist and time spent dealing with Weird and all his weirdness. It was almost an overdose of the good Colonel since we had the far future miniseries running alongside that and it’s definitely something that’s expanding and almost mucking up the continuity a bit. So it’s great to have the book back and focusing on events from where we left off before with Lemire scripting and especially having Dean Ormston on the artwork. I’ve loved the miniseries and the different takes we get on the characters but it all comes back to Ormston for me in the visual design and center for everything.
With the way things went down before we went into the mild sidestory arc, going into this issue is a familiar event in that nothing is like it seems. The timeline, presumably, has been altered (thanks, Barry!) and nothing is what it once was. Lucy is the tie that binds things here as her narration carries over a lot of the book. We see how she lost her dad at thirteen and has grown up feeling like she was supposed to do something more than being a waitress. Life has worn her down pretty hard and she’s going through the motions. The same can be said for Abe, who has no real dialogue here and spends his time as night security at a museum where he reads some old comic books that likely give him some familiar feelings as well. Both of these show how their lives would go without stepping up to the plate as a hero for various reasons and that sense of lack of fulfillment.
The story that interested me the most with this was Barbalien as we see him back on his homeworld where he’s been banished from the community because of his perversions. He’s come back to the area for water since where he was exiled has run dry and that sets a whole lot of trouble for him. The trick is that it was all a cover because he and another are working in secret, breaking another edict, by putting together a ship to go to Earth in the hopes of blending in and having a better life. I love the visuals for all of this, the mood of it all and design, as it creates something that feels unique. Everything cycles back to Lucy though and with her getting a mysterious call from someone that claims to have known her father and has a message, we get to that familiar place where someone that has managed to retain who they were amid this change is trying to figure out how to fix things – to some degree.
Black Hammer gets back on track here but does it in what is a fairly predictable way. There really aren’t any surprises here beyond possibly who it is that tries to reconnect with Lucy at the end, and even that was likely to be a very small pool of players. Lemire’s script is solid and I like Lucy’s tale with what we get but I especially like the Barbalien elements and the exploration of his world a bit. Some of that is through Ormston’s art more than the story itself but that piece just clicks wonderfully and Ormstron’s work in general is once again fantastic from start to finish. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this chapter of the series.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 27th, 2019