Yes, Patton Oswalt – the comedian – has written for Black Hammer: Visions, and it’s wonderful. This is a gem of a series following my favorite character from the Black Hammer Universe (and probably the most heartbreaking character for me, as well: Golden Gail – the fifty-year-old who when she says, “Zafram!” turns into a ten-year-old with superpowers, the inverse of Shazam! Only now, Gail is stuck as the ten-year-old with all the needs of a fifty-year-old woman. There’s humor mined in this issue, but also a great deal of pathos. The original Black Hammer series was so heartbreaking every time it focused on Gail; she was angry and sad, frustrated and lost. Oswalt taps into that from a very different perspective.
This series takes place within the first ten years that our heroes of Spiral City find themselves trapped at the farm. Two graduating high schoolers are reminiscing about their four years spent together, and one of them specifically remembers Gail… very clearly. We get to see Gail’s life from an entirely new perspective; we get to see her not as an adult that doesn’t fit in, but as a kid that doesn’t fit in. How her relationship plays out with these two teenage girls is the heart of this story. Oswalt approaches it with the same wit and insight that he brings to his standup and, because of that, there is so much life in this story.
Dean Kotz’s artwork is playful and grounded. The scenes of the two graduating friends sitting around a diner are wonderfully envisioned. Wordie’s colors are vibrant.
It makes me wish that Oswalt had a longer story to work on, but Visions, it seems, will be a number of one-shots of the different characters, all displayed on the beautifully designed title page. Kudos to Ethan Kimberling on that!
If every issue is as good as this one, Visions will be well worth following.
Creative Team: Patton Oswalt (script), Dean Kotz (art), Jason Wordie (colors), Nate Pieos (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Ethan Kimberling (design), Josie Christensen (digital art technician), Mike Richardson (publisher)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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