Black Hammer by Dark Horse Comics is a throw back to pulp in style and characters, but it takes these characters into the modern world through ideas and feelings. I read this because I saw the second volume of Black Hammer get nominated for Goodreads best of 2018 in the Graphic Novel and Comics section. I enjoyed this first novel a lot of off the surface references that will surely add up to tension.
The Plot: Five maybe six heroes are stuck in a small town, after a hellacious battle to save Spiral city. The heroes don’t know why they are placed out in a rural town and spend most of there days on the farm, the ones who can be seen act like a family to not have suspicion arise. When we meet the heroes they have been trapped for 10 years. Abraham Slam is the leader and a hero of the bygone era He is over fifty and still strong as an ox he is the father figure, Golden Gail has the power of regeneration and flight, the purgatory of the town has stopped her regeneration, leaving her a fifty year old trapped in the body of a 12 year old, Colonel Weird comes straight from pulp as he is a former astronaut stuck between two vortexes, leaving his body and mind like a ghost not familiar with dates or time since they are relative to him. Madam Dragonfly is a witch that took a bad deal to save her daughter, and watches over a mysterious cabin, that was also transported to the town. Barbalien is a shapeshifting alien from Mars who is accompanied my his robot that looks very pulp, they work to send probes to try to find some way out of this hell. Black Hammer the name that the series is named for is not really explained, the hammer is seen in the rural town but no mention of him currently existing, there’s a lot of underneath tension and questions of what happened to Black Hammer?
What I liked: The art is great, I will say I did not like the way faces are drawn but it fits with the era the artist was going for. Madam Dragonfly’s background story is really great and heartbreaking, her character is mysterious and I can’t wait to learn more. The romance between Abraham Slam and the waitress seems really real and well done. The Gail and Barbalien love tension was done well. Colonel Weird’s background and how he see’s the world was really interesting, and I can’t wait to see more.
What I disliked: too many thing were teased not enough was concrete, with get glimpse of the epic battle that lead them to the town but it was too fast. We get no flashbacks to the first days in the town and how they even know they’re trapped. I hope the next volume answers these questions and more.
Recommendation: To people who enjoy comics of today and appreciate the pulp comics that got us here. This is a throwback to those characters, but this comic attempts to give them the three dimensions that they always needed, and for the most part it succeeds. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, I think it was a great debut and now that the introductions are out of the way looking forward to the second volume.