Indie Comics Review: BLACK HAMMER REBORN #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Caitlyn Yarsky
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Black Hammer Reborn #9: Things have gotten crazy in Black Hammer! First, a parallel Spiral City collided with the actual one, spawning a multiverse nightmare of heroes and villains from both worlds going to war, and now Lucy Weber picks back up the mantle of Black Hammer and teams up with Skulldigger for answers on how to end the madness.
After two issues focusing on Colonel Weird, Black Hammer Reborn #9 returns the story’s focus to Lucy Weber and Skulldigger. Having been freed from their cells in Spiral Asylum by Weird, they then free Doc Andromeda. The three then set out to stop Andromeda’s evil doppelganger’s plan to revive Anti-God.
I like that Lemire has made this ersatz Spiral City more than just the moral opposite of the main Spiral City we know from other Black Hammer books. Lemire hasn’t merely flipped every character from evil to good or vice versa. There are also some major differences in some characters’ histories. We’ve previously seen that Skulldigger’s evil doppelganger, Grimdigger, appears to be an amalgamation of Skulldigger and his father Grimjim. And this issue, we learn that it was Lucy and her mother that died in Anti-God’s attack. And that this Earth’s greatest villain, the original Black Hammer survived.
This version of Lucy’s father makes an offer to Lucy. He tells Lucy, “All you have to do is join me. Together we can bring back your family”. This is where Lemire chooses to end this chapter, leaving us to wonder if Lucy will accept this deal with the devil to save her family. Will her love for her family cause her to throw in with this alternate world’s villains?
And for that matter, is her family truly dead? We have seen in a series of backup stories that her son survived and had a brief adventure in Limbo Land. Perhaps the others are having similar adventures on some other plane of reality. It would be rather tragic if Lucy accepted the evil Black Hammer’s offer in order to save her family and it turn out to be unnecessary. However, I suspect that Lucy will refuse the offer, even if pains her terribly to do so.
I have to wonder about this world’s Sherlock Frankenstein. The main Spiral City’s Sherlock was a hero that turned evil. But he had recently reformed. His doppelganger is presented as a hero in this story. But could he be about to return to his evil ways? We have seen that there are differences in the worlds’ histories, but is it possible for a character to have the same moral alignment in both universes.
Once again, I have no complaints about this issue. I might have been slightly annoyed if Lemire still hadn’t brought us back the main story thread, but the two-issue interlude telling us Colonel Weird’s part in the story was fascinating and relevant to the overall story. So, it wasn’t a pointless digression. But I’m glad to see Lemire brought the story back to Lucy and Skulldigger.
Jeff Lemire’s story is leading to something major as Black Hammer Reborn nears the final issue. And clearly, Lucy’s decision will be a major turning point in the story. Lemire is doing a masterful job at building up to the Second Cataclysm. And the wait between issues seems interminable. I am really eager to see where this all is leading.