I was talking with someone today about the big superhero teams and that even when the best writers are brought on board, it becomes nothing but epic events, broad grandstanding, and jokey quips. Most times, the individual characters cease to want something for themselves. For me, that’s freaking boring and makes the big superhero books these days a tedious endeavor. Black Hammer is the best superhero team book on the shelves. It truly explores what it means to be an individual on a team; in this case, quite literally, trapped on a team. The team has been forced to become a family.
Trapped on a farm outside a small town, they have been forced to play a part, but how can they be accepted for who they are when they can’t actually be who they are? The problematic internal duality and struggle of what a superhero is becomes amplified. If you’re lost as to what I’m talking about, think Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, or Clark Kent and Lois Lane. If Clark was forced to always be Clark and never show the Superman side of himself to anyone, he’d be missing a huge part of who he is. Most likely, Lemire doesn’t have all of this directly on his mind as a writer, but it’s out of his hands once the book has been published.
This issue is a culmination of a lot of the threads in Age of Doom, the second story arc in Black Hammer, and, boy, does Lemire know how to culminate! The new Black Hammer has been jumping between dimensions trying to figure out why our heroes are trapped on a farm. Reinvigorated, our heroes have been trying to figure out what’s going on.
You don’t have to be a superhero fan to like this book. If you like The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror, a story with humanity and broken people trying to find the will to keep going and be the best they can be against all odds - including things like hopelessness, depression, regret, and aging - Black Hammer is really worth picking up.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (writer, creator), Dean Ormston (artist, creator), Dave Stewart (colors), Todd Klein (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Brett Israel (assistant editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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