Indie Comics Review: BLACK HAMMER REBORN #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Caitlin Yarsky
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Black Hammer Reborn #1: It’s twenty years later, and Lucy, and the world, have moved on. Living in the suburbs of Spiral City, Lucy is married and has children. But all is not blissful. Her marriage is falling apart, her job has reached a dead end, and for mysterious reasons, she hasn’t picked up the hammer in years. But, as her domestic life begins to crumble, the secrets of the last twenty years, and the reasons Lucy really gave up being Black Hammer, begin to resurface, threatening her family, and the peace she has tried hard to find for herself.
With Black Hammer Reborn #1, Jeff Lemire brings back the core title of his Black Hammer universe. However, it is somewhat different than the two previous iterations of the title. The focus has shifted away from the team of heroes we’re familiar with, and now focuses on the title character, Lucy Weber. This is an entirely appropriate change in focus, considering that that team received a satisfactory conclusion to their story at the end of Black Hammer: Age of Doom.
Lucy is the only character that did not return to their exile, but remained to continue her career as Black Hammer. However, things didn’t quite work out that way. Black Hammer Reborn #1 picks Lucy’s story up twenty years later. In this future, we see that Lucy has retired from the superhero life, gotten married, and has two children. And a paramilitary organization known as T.R.I.D.E.N.T. has kept Spiral City clean of any supervillain activity for the past three years.
But Lucy’s life starts falling apart. Her son is starting fights in school, her teenage daughter appears to be on drugs, and she learns that her husband is cheating on her. And the Para-Zone seems to be bleeding into Spiral City. All this seems to be driving Lucy to once again pick up the hammer she inherited from her father, the original Black Hammer. But she is stopped by the traumatic memory of why she retired in the first place.
We only see a single panel, but it appears that Lucy was either forced to kill someone or accidentally did so during her final case. Presumably, we will learn exactly what happened as the story continues. But for now, all we see is Lucy sitting in shock next to a dead body and holding a bloody hammer.
While there aren’t really any guest-stars in this issue, there are a few cameos that hint at possible future appearances. Doctor Andromeda (formerly Doctor Star) appears on a TV screen warning about the Para-Zone. And if the Para-Zone is going to feature in the story, it seems inevitable that Colonel Weird will make an appearance. And we see Skulldigger in a brief flashback. Lemire’s universe is rich, and there are plenty of interesting characters that might appear. And I’m sure Lemire will introduce some great new characters as well.
The twenty year jump in time came as a bit of a surprise, but the various Black Hammer titles have taken place in different past times. So, it’s not unreasonable to have one set in the present. And it would be interesting to see what has occurred in the lives of other Black Hammer characters during those two decades.
The artwork of Caitlin Yarsky is evocative of the Bronze age comics of my childhood, which has something of a nostalgic feel for me. This effect is heightened by Dave Stewarts colours. Lemire’s universe is a tribute to the history of comics, so it is only fitting that this comic evokes memories of the comics I grew up with.
Jeff Lemire has yet to disappoint me with any Black Hammer comic, and Black Hammer Reborn #1 is no exception. I don’t even have any minor quibbles with this inaugural issue of Lemire’s new series. However, it may not be best to jump right into this issue as a new reader. It’s well worth checking out the previous volumes of Black Hammer before diving into this series.
Black Hammer Reborn #1 is a great start to the series. Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer universe is a love letter to comics history, and he has yet to produce an issue that doesn’t reflect his love of the medium. If this issue is any indication, this series will make a fine addition to the Black Hammer mythos.