Indie Comics Review: BLACK HAMMER REBORN #4
[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 #4: Twenty years ago, Lucy Weber fought Spiral City’s greatest villains as the heroic Black Hammer–today she finds her marriage falling apart and her children in danger with new threats wreaking havoc on her world and some of Black Hammer’s greatest heroes returning to aid her in saving it from destruction.
In Black Hammer Reborn #4, Colonel Weird pays a visit to the Weber family. And he lives up to his name by bringing a lot of weirdness to the story. The Colonel is a rather interesting character who does not experience time in a linear fashion. Thus, he has knowledge of future events, but his actions are entirely predetermined.
Upon his arrival, he takes Lucy into the Para-Zone to show her visions of her past. This reveals what actually happened to cause Lucy to retire from being Black Hammer. We see that Doctor Andromeda was attempting to summon Anti-God from the Para-Zone. And Lucy was forced to kill Andromeda to stop him from doing so.
I am quite disappointed that Doctor Andromeda’s story ended this way. His story in Doctor Andromeda and The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows was a classic tribute to James Robinson’s Starman. I find it hard to believe Doc Robinson could turn evil. In fact, I suspect that there is more to the story – mind control or a doppelganger perhaps?
Weird also shows the darker side of Lucy’s family. We already knew about her husband’s infidelity and her daughter’s experimentation with drugs. But we also see that her son Joseph has inherited his father’s electrical powers, which he uses to torment a poor cat. Weird shows Lucy her family at their best and at their worst, stating “They are not perfect…but they are yours.
Weird then returns Lucy to her family, and then proceeds to vaporize them – or so it would appear. Again, I suspect that more is going on here. Perhaps Weird has teleported them away instead of obliterating them. Especially considering that Weird justifies himself by declaring to Lucy that he did this “because…you told me to”. The implication is that Lucy at some point will instruct Colonel Weird to do this. And I don’t see any circumstances that would lead Lucy to order her family’s execution. So something else must be going on here.
Caitlin Yarsky is doing a great job as artist on this title – especially in the flashbacks. Her art does a great job of capturing the bronze-age feel of that era, with the aid of Dave Stewart’s vibrant colours. Their talent makes Black Hammer Reborn #4 look truly stunning.
As much as I enjoyed the story and art, there is one thing that quite displeased me. I was rather put off by seeing a cat being tormented by Joseph Weber. Hopefully the poor kitty wasn’t permanently injured or traumatized. And I hope that if he’s still alive, that Lucy takes her son to task about cruelty to animals.
In Black Hammer Reborn #4, Jeff Lemire has finished with the set-up and has brought Lucy Weber to the point of taking up her heroic identity once more. I look forward to seeing what Lemire has planned for Lucy as the story shifts into high gear. Lemire hasn’t disappointed yet, so I’m sure we’re in for a treat.