The Superhero Genre Gets Super -Meta With Black Hammer
Black Hammer is one of those indie comic book series that will grab your attention from the get-go. Yes, everyone says that about a series they love, but you’ll really love this one. Brought to you by Dark Horse and the minds of Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston, Black Hammer is an obscure story about a team of superheroes, much like Marvel’s Avengers or DC’s Justice League, but with a twist. The story will have you emotionally invested through its realistic subject matter and character building. Although it may appear gritty, Black Hammer is also a humorous look at how absurd superhero genre tropes can be.
The series focuses on Abraham Slam, Barbalien, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly and Walky-Talky. Together the group makes up a team not unlike the Justice League. However, instead of focusing on their adventures, Black Hammer focuses the team’s disappearance. After an epic battle against Anti-God, a powerful Galactus-like villain, the entire team perishes in a sudden flash of light- or so it seems.
Unknown to the citizens of Spiral City, the group wasn’t dead at all. Instead, they’re teleported to Rockwood, a quaint & mysterious small town. The twist? They can’t leave Rockwood’s perimeter because if they do, they’ll die. They learned that fact the hardest way possible. Our heroes now must solve the mystery of how and why they ended up in Rockwood. To do this, they immerse themselves into normal life amongst the unwitting citizens… for the next 10 years.
Black Hammer is an in-depth look at everyday social relationships as much as it is about mystery and superheroes. Although they each possess unique abilities, they remain vulnerable to the societal pressures of everyday life in a small town. This is understandable because they’re forced to live together for years, not knowing the fates of their world and loved ones.
Black Hammer is told through a series of flashbacks to their superhero origins, and looks at what they’re up to in their new lives. Jumping from present time in Rockwood back to their glory days in Spiral City, you’ll understand their backstories and motivations. During their long tenure in the small town, they build relationships within the oblivious community but grow increasingly impatient with each other, bumping heads at every turn. However, as the story progresses, the mystery of Rockwood only become more confusing.
Black Hammer will leave you torn between wanting to see them happy in their new lives, where they have no responsibility to protect anyone, and wanting them to be able to return to their own world. Life away from Spiral City and their former lives is a blessing for some but torture for others. Black Hammer’s suspense is apparent as you’ll wonder if their personal lives will kill them before they find answers.
The series just wrapped up its third graphic novel’s worth of issues and keeps getting better. This is easily the best series we’ve read since DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. Catch up and join the fans who are currently enjoying Black Hammer Volume 3: Age of Doom Part 2. Forget physical copies, we recommend the digital versions, like on comiXology, for the most convenient experience.