‘Black Hammer #1:’ Comic Book Review

10 years ago, an elite group of superheroes kept Spiral City safe from peril. Then, something happened. Some as yet unexplored circumstances brought them from their teaming metropolis to a small farm town, from which there seems to be no escape.

This first issue begins on the team’s 10th anniversary in this town. Through some supernatural means, they were all given new, ordinary identities in this town, but behind those identities, we get to see glimpses of who they were in their other lives. There’s Abraham, who’s sort of the leader (if anyone would listen to him), now a crotchety, aging farmer who seems largely content with their new lifestyle. There’s Gail, a foul-mouthed, hard-living woman trapped in the body of a 9-year-old girl. Barbalien is a towering figure from Mars, who can assume human form when necessary. And Col. Weird, formerly a great hero and adventurer across the stars, who now seems to be losing his grip on reality and must be kept in check by his faithful robot companion, Talky-Walky.

Though we get a small taste of their lives and careers as superheroes, most of it remains a mystery, at least for the moment. The main focus is on their new lives in this strange town and their relationships with the other townspeople. We do also, however, get to see a brief glimpse of Spiral City, and the world that’s continued in their absence. For myself, I found the brief pages in the city to be, by far, the most compelling part of the comic, as well as dazzlingly drawn, and I hope there’s a larger focus on that aspect of the story in future issues.

The characters aren’t that well fleshed out yet in terms of writing, for the most part. They each have a cool and unique visual aesthetic, though, from aliens to robots to goth girls and more. In general so far, the art by Dean Ormston is the best reason to read this comic. The story is fun too, and has great potential to develop as time goes on. We’ll see how things play out in the next issue.

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