Saturday, March 18, 2017

Black Hammer #7 Review and Spoilers

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 22, 2017
Publisher: Dark Horse
Review by: Repairman Jack

The following is an advance review that contains spoilers.  Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom 

It’s been what feels like forever since the last actual issue of Black Hammer so I’m ready to dive back into this weird world and see just what it has in store for us. The last time we left off the gang in Rockwood had a visitor fresh from their original lives in the form of Lucy the Black Hammer’s daughter. So without further ado let’s jump in.

We pick up not exactly where we left off, but actually quite a while before, with Joe Weber before he picks up the mantle of Black Hammer. It’s nice to finally gain some back story on Black Hammer and maybe shed some light on led us to where we are currently with the characters in the series. Without a Black Hammer and stuck in another world unable to escape. We find out that even before being the Black Hammer that Joe was a true-of-heart selfless man.

Besides some back story on Joe we also get a good bit of information on the bigger picture of the world our characters come from. Although it seems all of our leads come from Spiral City it’s a much bigger danger and a much wider scope that may very well be the reason they’re in their current situation. We get a rundown of some superhero facsimiles and their lord Starlok as he describes the situation and their current fear of Anti-God his “evil twin”.

Finally getting back to the farm we learn that Lucy’s memory is a little jumbled and seems to be fading more and more. Even though this scene centers around Lucy it seems to better serve as a reminder that this make-shift family is growing restless and really starting to take it out on each other. Even Talky Walky doesn’t miss the chance to complain.

Once Gus gets tired of the bickering and calls it to a stop we flash back to Spiral City as we see Black Hammer making quick work of some run of the mil villains with some help from Gail. We find out that it has been 10 years since last we saw Joe, as he is just making it in time for her 10th birthday when Starlok calls him off for an emergency with Anti-God. It’s this moment that I feel is the pivotal and biggest moment in the entire series. Joe is given the choice of going off to fight Anti-God or staying to celebrate his daughter's tenth birthday. He is told one of his cohorts has already fallen and that another is struggling to holding the enemy forces from New World, but when given the choice he chooses to stay for his family. In my eyes he seems to make the exact opposite choice to what led him to become the Black Hammer in the first place, just some pages prior.

We don’t know exactly what took place between Anti-God and the new world, and we don’t know if Black Hammer could have even stopped it at the time, but I think it’s fair to point at his decision as being the least self-less of the choices. We’re also not really sure if this choice has any direct effect on what happens to our characters as we’re not really sure exactly what brought them to their current predicament. It just seems expertly pointed in a way that is hard to look past.

With some catch up back on the farm we learn some of the specifics of their imprisonment as the family gets some solidarity in their need for a drink. We see the events that led everyone(except anti-god….maybe?) to Rockwood as they lead Lucy to her father's grave. Recalling their side of the first time they woke up in Rockwood and what led Black Hammer to his death. It just happens to be in a cartoonishly gory way. It’s not exactly a bad thing, the way it’s depicted, it just comes off a little weird in the way the art comes across. Intrales fly everywhere, though it seems like he’s skinned with nothing but his muscles and blood vessels show...except his skull is showing while his brain is out of his body? I can’t explain what happened at all, but it just seems weird and it’s hard to really criticize without knowing the intentions.

Overall I’d say I wasn’t completely in love with this issue as I have been a lot from this series in the past. We get a lot of necessary information and we learn more about Black Hammer himself, but the emotional aspect that I have come to know and love from the series comes through a little less as it’s coming almost third person in a way. We’re learning of Lucy’s emotional past through the story of her dad, and were then learning Black Hammers past through her daughter and both characters we barely know so it comes off a little disengaged. It’s a necessary issue, it just doesn’t hold the impact for me that I’ve come to be used to with the series.

Bits and Pieces:

Although necessary and full of important information this issue comes off a little emotionally disjointed. That and some confusion due to art choices involved in a particularly important moment led me to be a little disappointed in this issue. Enjoyed enough, but without the emotional resonation it’s hard to say I liked it near as much other issues.


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