Review: BLACK HAMMER/JUSTICE LEAGUE: HAMMER OF DOOM #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Michael Walsh
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Doom #3: Dropped into the DC universe, the Black Hammer heroes find themselves captured by members of the Justice League who blame them for the cosmic switch–and on the Black Hammer Farm, the displaced DC heroes search for answers and a way out of their bucolic prison. But Colonel Weird and the Green Lantern discover that the solution to this riddle may not be so simple.
I am loving this crossover event of Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer cast and the heroes of the DC Universe. Although the core teams have yet to meet, the Black Hammer crew does get to interact with other member of the Justice League.
There are some pretty hilarious moments, such as Barbalien’s repeated insistence that the Martian Manhunter cannot be a real Martian, because Martians are NOT green. He even goes so far as to refer to “little green men” being a racist stereotype.
And then there’s Golden Gail’s attempts to flirt with a horrified Aquaman. Eventually, J’onn has to separate her from Aquaman, only for her to say, “Well, how about you? I have a thing about bald guys. And Martians.” Poor J’onn just can’t get a break.
I especially how Lemire doesn’t follow the obvious temptation to pair the characters with their most obvious analogue from the other universe. It might have been just a little too easy to have Gail encounter Shazam, but instead she runs into Zatanna.
Zatanna helps Gail to figure out how to make her magic word work in the DCU: by speaking it backwards, of course. This leads Gail to transform into her adult mortal form. I find it quite interesting that in the DCU, Gail is older, but still healthy and in full control of her faculties. But when she returns to the Earth of the Black Hammer Universe, her mortal form seems much older, with mind and body barely functional.
Last issue implied that the Flash had died by attempting to leave the confines of the mysterious farm that the Justice League is trapped on, like the hero Black Hammer had done in the Black Hammer comics. But this issue, we find that Green Lantern John Stewart and Colonel Weird save him from that fate, bringing him into Para-Zone with them. I am relieved to see that Barry survived, but I am not entirely convinced that he was really in any danger.
We also get a brief peek at the silhouette of the Strange Man that caused the two teams to switch places. He appears to be wearing a bowler hat, which seems to lend creedence to my theory that he is really a certain sixth-dimensional imp.
Also, Batman and Cyborg make an interesting discovery in the barn. They find the deactivated body of the robotic Talky-Walky. But why isn’t he in the DCU with his teammates? And how could he have been in the barn without the heroes realizing he was there?
I also have to commend Michael Walsh’s art. His artwork perfectly captures the essence of the heroes of both worlds, and perfectly captures the tone of the series.
I can’t really find any fault with the story. Lemire’s familiarity with both sets of characters serves him well in making their actions and interactions seem believable and in character.
Gail’s amorous attentions to the male League members does seem somewhat disturbing, but manages to produce some naughty tidbits of dark humour.
Many of the characters and concepts in Lemire’s Black Hammer Universe are homages to or pastiches of DC’s iconic properties, and I love that Lemire has this opportunity to bring the two universes together for this once in a lifetime event. This miniseries is a true delight for those who love comics.