The first episode of a new sitcom is usually the least funny. You have to set up the world, introduce the characters, usually the situational part is missing, and once everyone is in place, if the show is good, the second episode hits the ground running. The second issue of Jeff Lemire’s (Moon Knight, Old Man Logan, Descender . . . what isn’t he writing right now!) Black Hammer hits the ground running. The first issue was enough to intrigue: An odd assortment of superheroes are trapped on a farm and forced to live a “normal” life. Somehow, a black hammer has something to do with their being there. It was a quick pan across the world we’re entering. I wrote that once we get to know these characters a little more, I would return to the first issue again and watch it spring to life.
This second issue focuses in on a couple of the characters. The A plot follows a really awesome character, a young girl by the name of Gail Gibbons. She was imbued with superpowers that require her to say the name of the one who gives her the powers. As she grew older, though, when she said the name, she would revert into the nine-year-old’s body. Now, she’s 55-years-old and having to live out her life as a nine-year-old. It’s a trap within a trap and really allows us to get a handle on what these characters are going through. It’s really quite brilliant.
Of course, none of the heroes knows who put them there, and some of them have been trying to find a way out all this time. (This is our B-Plot.) The only one who seems at all comfortable on the farm is Abe who tries his best to keep order. In some ways, he’s treating this like an early retirement.
Lemire jumps between their Golden Age of hero-ing and their life on the farm. Dean Ormstom’s expressive art and Dave Stewart’s impeccable colors highlight the difference. The Golden Age is this glowing dream, and the life on the farm ranges from realistic to dreary.
In the center of this intriguing premise, though, is already ample amounts of heart. Lemire already starts to cut to the core of some of these characters, and he does it with a sharp sense of humor and insightful character interactions. I would recommend jumping in now while the jumping in is good. Pick up Black Hammer before there are no more copies to get.