It’s been a while since we’ve ventured into the world of Dark Horse and the title of Black Hammer. And it’s nice to be back into it!
Black Hammer #12 continues to follow the tale of Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Talky-Walky, Madam Dragonfly, and Barbalien. We open to a panoramic of Spiral City after the defeat of the Anti-God and the disappearance of the heroes. The aftermath of the battle has devastated the city, yet its citizens have set up memorials for the heroes.
Meanwhile, the heroes are mysteriously transported to a farm ironically called Black Hammer. The farm and the surrounding city serves as their prison, a town trapped in time. Having dealt with the menace that threatens the destruction of their world, the heroes now face themselves and the consequenes of their decisions. Previous issues cover this in more detail, yet this issue deals mainly with the rest of the world remembering the heroic acts and setting up memorials in the wake of the destruction caused by their battle.
The bulk of the story in Black Hammer #12 focuses on Lucy Weber, from the day she lost her father to her adult life. She is presented at first as a child who strives to be recognized as the child of Black Hammer. As an adult, she strives to find out the truth about what happened to him.
When looking at David Rubin’s art, there seems to be more distortion in the facial expressions. Also, I believe something is lost for nostalgia when looking at the past versus the present. There aren’t any throwback panels to how characters during the Golden Age looked. The colors of the characters don’t pop like they did when Ormston was illustrating. The art style is very bland, making characters and background blend rather than stick out from their surroundings.
The Hall of Hammer in the cover art doesn’t look like a grandiose entrance to an amazing reliquary of an honored hero. It looks like a cacophony of wires and widgets that don’t seem to serve any purpose but in attempting to make the Hall look high-tech. There’s no rhyme or reason to the layout of the room, with some previous iterations of the Black Hammer costume encased in the background, and a small screen of the most current Black Hammer greeting a young Lucy Weber. In all honesty, the Hall of Hammer looks more like a tweaker’s underground storage closet rather than a hero’s base of operations.
What ultimately draws me to Black Hammer is the script. Jeff Lemire is world building with the backstory of Lucy Weber and how she gathered up her wits to investigate the whereabouts of her father and the fate of the heroes who fought against the Anti-God. She adores her father, and has to live a dual life in knowing who he was, yet not being able to publicly identify with him. For in doing so, it would put her and everyone she knows in danger. Seeing this is the life of a civilian, we don’t see any fighting scenes, which I believe is appropriate.
The theme of heroism and consequences continues to echo throughout the comic. This time though, the ripples of consequence reach the shores of those who are nearest and dearest to the heroes. This is a tale of a father wishing his child would take a better path. Yet the child he left behind stubbornly chases after the father she barely knew.
Black Hammer #12 delves more into the world of Black Hammer by exploring the ramifications of the hero life. This story is less about the heroes and more about the world they lived in. The art seems to have fallen in quality. Also the scale of the world seems smaller with new artist David Rubin. Although the art style lacks compared to Dean Ormston’s art, Jeff Lemire’s script continues to draw readers to its pages.
- Overall story of sacrifice and consequences continues
- Characters are fleshed out- backstories and intentions explored
- Art style lacks compared to previous titles
- Colors don't have the characters stand out from the background