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‘Black Hammer ’45:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Taking some inspiration from the Tuskegee Airmen, Jeff Lemire takes his world of Black Hammer to World War II, as we follow a group of three black and one Chinese pilots, known as the Black Hammer Squadron, on their final mission against the Axis. Lemire doesn’t do it alone this time; writer Ray Fawkes is the first to co-pilot and takes on the job of telling the story.  In addition, three of my personal favorite comic creators hop on board – Matt Kindt (art), Sharlene Kindt (colors), and Marie Enger (letters) – all three of whom worked on a beautiful book and one of my favorites from last year, Dept. H. It’s like Lemire wanted a powerhouse team; he got it, and it shows.

Like many of the Black Hammer stories, this first issue is about heroics and regret, as we jump back and forth in time from “current” day to World War II, following Captain “Hammer” Hawthorne as he relives his memories on what seems to be a very important day. Those memories insert some Spiral City superhero appearances into the flow of things, as they knock German forces out of the air and generally lay waste to the opposition.

When they’re given the final mission, it involves a mysterious German pilot called The Ghost Hunter, and…well, and some other pretty absolutely crazy, but amazing, things. This is like a thirteen-year-old playing war with toys and making sure each toy is used. Hawthorne has a personal vendetta against The Ghost Hunter, so while the Black Hammer Squadron have a specific mission, we can already tell that that will probably get waylaid. And then… and then the final page happens, and I giggled with delight.

The artwork from Matt and Sharlene is beautiful. They are a perfect team. I’m sure I’ll go into that in future issues. Ray Fawkes’ script is fun. I’m always on board with anything in the Black Hammer universe, and while this one is a little different so far, it’s just as wonderful. I think it’s important to mix things up a bit, and why not bring some of the most talented people in to do that?

Creative Team: Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes (story), Ray Fawkes (writer) Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormstom (creators), Matt Kindt (artist), Sharlene Kindt (colors), Marie Enger (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Brett Israel and Chuck Howitt (assistant editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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