The mysteries continue to be unraveled in Black Hammer #6, but even more questions arise as well. Walk a mile in Madame Dragonfly’s shoes as she reveals the horrifying origin of her powers.
I can’t remember the last time I looked at a shelf of new release comics lacking at least one book bearing the name Jeff Lemire on it. It makes me wonder if he might be some kind of robot straight out of his stellar Image series, Descender. Speaking of Descender, which is the only other Lemire book I am an avid follower of, he might actually be outdoing himself with Black Hammer. It doesn’t hurt that he finds himself paired with exceptional artists on both series.
Black Hammer #6begins as all classic horror comics should. A frightful host offers some snippets of monologue inviting you to listen to her tale of terror. This issue continues to show an incredible range of storytelling ability from its creative team. Telling Dragonfly’s origin through this particular retro horror lens feels right at home with not only her character, but with the series as a whole. This is only one month after Colonel Weird’s backstory was explained in glorious golden age, weird fiction style. Incorporating Sci-Fi, Horror, Family Drama, and the classic Small Town Story in one series pushes the superheroing nearly all the way out of the picture. The result is supremely effective.
This particular issue hits a neat Swamp Thing beat when detailing the history of Dragonfly’s lost love and her disastrous pregnancy. A man turned monster rising from the muck and star-crossed lovers cursed by magic are two of the familiar notes borrowed from the classic Swamp tales. The Darkseid-esque archvillain of Anti-God makes an appearance to illuminate the tiniest details surrounding our heroes untimely exile; that enigmatic event that sets the stage for the series. That event we still know so precious little about. Black Hammer is a great and compelling story precisely because of how closely it safeguards its secrets.
Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart handle the art duties on Black Hammer. By handle I mean that they are knocking it out of the park. Fans of the Hellboy universe, Harrow County, Resident Alien, and other weird Dark Horse comics will feel at home with the aesthetic of Black Hammer. Ormston’s pencils are actually reminiscent of Lemire’s own art as well, which I’m sure lends to their suitability for this story. No photo realism to be had here folks, just great cartooning. Stewart’s colors are probably the primary contributor to the golden age feel of the book. He uses a deceptively simple palette that is a delight look at.
Black Hammer #6 is peak comic book storytelling. Black Hammer might just be my pick for best new series of 2016.
- Smorgasbord of genre influences
- Gorgeous golden age aesthetic
- Secretive yet compelling plot
- Only if you are dead inside