Indie Comics Review: BLACK HAMMER REBORN #3
[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 #3: Twenty years ago, Lucy Weber fought madmen and monsters–today she finds her marriage falling apart and her children in danger. And now past threats–and rogue heroes–return to herald the end of the world!
In Black Hammer Reborn #3, Jeff Lemire continues to reveal a fair amount of backstory about Lucy Weber via flashback, while also advancing the modern day plot. It’s interesting that Lemire has decided to structure his story this way, instead of starting the story twenty years ago and working towards the present.
I am guessing that Lemire has his reason for starting the story years after Lucy retired from being Black Hammer. This makes me wonder if Lemire is intending for his series to be about an older Lucy Weber or if he’s setting the ground for a new successor. Last issue, showed us Lucy imagining her daughter in her costume. Was that a bit of foreshadowing?
Lucy tracks down the minor villain she saved from Skulldigger last issue. Lightning Rod tells her that he had intended to be a hero, but resorted to robbery out of desperation. He then reveals that his name is Elliot. This immediately cuts to the present, wear Lucy is fighting with her husband Elliot, making it clear that he’s the same character. However, their fight is interrupted by another incursion of the Para-Zone into Spiral City.
Lucy retreats to her father’s old headquarters, which implies that she’s feeling the pressure to take up the hammer again. But we also see another brief flash of the traumatic event that holds her back. Clearly Lucy is getting close to the point where she’s going to need to face that trauma and come out of retirement.
Another familiar face makes an appearance, as Lucy returns home to find Colonel Weird in her living room. But he does not come bearing good news. When Lucy’s son Joseph states that Lucy will protect her family, Weird responds, “–No, Joseph… she will not. Your mother will not protect you… She will not protect anyone… The world is about to end. I have seen it… it is the pattern of things…”.
This pronouncement of doom is especially chilling, when you consider that Weird does not experience time in a linear fashion. Much like Doctor Manhattan in the Watchmen, he is helpless to prevent events he has already seen taken place in the future. This implies that the doom he has foreseen is inevitable.
However, there is also some room for equivocation in that pronouncement. The world might be about to end, but might be followed by a rebirth. Lemire’s universe reflects classic comic book concepts. And apocalyptic events followed by a reality reset is a common comic book trope. DC has a Crisis that reshapes reality every couple years.
And perhaps Lucy won’t protect her family, but that’s not to say somebody else won’t. And perhaps that someone is a new Black Hammer. However, that’s just my guess. It might be that Lemire has something totally different in store in the story ahead. Whatever path the story takes, I have faith that Lemire will produce a satisfying conclusion to the crisis.
And I hope that Colonel Weird’s reappearance means that we might somehow see more of the the other heroes from the original series. I’d love to see any or all of them pop in for a visit.
The only problem I have with this book is having to wait a whole month between chapters. I’m dying to see where this story’s heading. However, that’s more my own impatience than a problem with the story. The story is just so good, I want more than each monthly serving can provide.
I was a bit hesitant about Black Hammer Reborn, considering the absence of Golden Gail, Barbalien, and the other from the preceding volumes of the core Black Hammer series. But Lemire can always be trusted to provide a fantastic story, regardless of which characters are in it.