Indie Comics Review: BLACK HAMMER REBORN #7
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Malachi Ward, Matthew Sheean, Rich Tommaso
Colors: Malachi Ward, Rich Tammaso
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot, Rich Tommaso
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Black Hammer Reborn #7: The mad space-faring adventurer Colonel Weird and his trusty robot companion Talky-Walky have spent months mapping out the bizarre intricacies of the Para-zone only to find themselves trapped in an interdimensional nightmare from which there’s no escape!
I was a bit surprised by Black Hammer Reborn #7. I had expected that it would pick up where the last issue left off with Black Hammer and Skulldigger in the alternate Spiral City. But instead, Jeff Lemire presents us with an interlude featuring Colonel Weird and Talky-Walky. And while I have been enjoying the Lucy Weber storyline, I was happy to spend an issue with these two characters from the first Black Hammer series.
However, this interlude is not merely a diversion, but ties into the main story. While on their mission to map the Para-Zone, the Colonel is feeling stranger – er – stranger than usual. As he’s telling Talky-Walky about this, they encounter an anomaly. When he investigates, he finds Doctor Andromeda fighting an evil doppelganger of himself.
The evil Doctor Andromeda reveals to Weird that the Para-Zone is one of an infinite number of Para-Zones. This implies that the Black Hammer universe is part of an infinite multiverse, much like the original DC multiverse. Come to think of it, considering the events of Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice, it’s likely that the Black Hammer and DC multiverses are one and the same. Or perhaps the Black Hammer multiverse exists within the wider DC Omniverse.
He also has a vision of “the Second Cataclysm”. The first Cataclysm was the standoff against Anti-God and the heroes of the first Black Hammer series. This led to their banishment to the Black Hammer farm, leading into the first series. This vision shows the heroes of Spiral City from various parallel Earths confronting Anti-God. This scene is rather reminiscent of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In fact, it I would guess that Lemire is using the word “Cataclysm” for his universe very much as DC uses the word “Crisis”. And given this vision and Weirds’s encounter with the sleeping Anti-God, I suspect the Second Cataclysm is imminent.
I was intrigued by some of these alternate versions of the Spiral City heroes. I especially liked the gorilla version of Golden Gail. That character idea definitely has a Silver Age vibe. It would be interesting to see some of these characters explored in more depth later on.
We also get another short chapter of the Inspector Insector backup story. A villain called Fumi-Gator has captured Lucy Weber’s son. The Inspector begins his mission to rescue the boy by visiting a character called Detective Distender. His being a detective with stretching powers is somewhat reminiscent of DC’s Elongated Man. This is quite possibly intentional, considering that many Black Hammer characters are pastiches of DC characters.
There’s not really much to complain about. I could complain about Lemire leaving the main story hanging to bring us this interlude story. However, this issue’s story is an integral part of the overall story. And I enjoyed it as much, if not more, than the main storyline.
Also, I think the Inspector Insector backup suffers a bit from being too short. With only two pages, it cuts off just as it gets interesting. It’d be great if this backup had a few more pages to work with. But otherwise, I’m quite enjoying this rather strange side story.
Black Hammer Reborn #9 is another great chapter in Lemire’s saga that sets the stage for a truly epic conclusion to this story as the Second Cataclysm approaches. I look forward to seeing how this Crisis-like event will play out.