‘Jack Hammer #1:’ Comic Book Review

Jack Hammer is part hard-boiled noir detective story and part superhero story. Typically, I would follow up a statement like that by saying, “It’s hard to go wrong with that combination.” In fact, I believe that’s almost exactly what I said about the last noir superhero story I reviewed. Truth be told, noir and superheroes happen to be two of my favorite things. So, when you combine them, the result should be golden.

And, indeed, Jack Hammer is pretty entertaining in this first issue. But, at the same time, I can’t help but think that the mixture is a bit off. The noir is executed perfectly, but the superhero element just seems superfluous.

Jack McGriskin (who hates being called Jack Hammer) is a hard-boiled private detective with a seedy past, not to mention a seedy present. He also has superpowers. When the missing person he was hired to find turns up dead, he gets curious about how and why, despite (or perhaps because of) his client’s insistence that he not pursue the matter further. So, he calls in some favors with some rather dangerous people in order to track down clues that put him in way over his head. If that were the entire premise, it would be a recipe for a great detective story.

But, like I said, there are also superpowers. They seem unnecessary and, thus far, ill-defined. Jack has super strength, apparently, which he uses to rough up some people and fight his way out of some dangerous situations. But, even with superpowers, he does nothing that Humphrey Bogart hasn’t done with no powers at all. So, what purpose do they serve in this story?

I’m sure that in subsequent issues, the superhero aspect will be further developed and become more integral to the story, but my question still stands: Is it really necessary? This has all the makings of a great hard-boiled noir detective story. The brief parts where it starts dealing with superheroes and superpowers are the weakest bits.

Still, if you like noir detective stories, this one is probably at least worth a look. Let’s hope the superhero bits improve as the series continues.

Last modified on Friday, 28 December 2018 17:46

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