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Black Hammer Volume 1 Kindle & comiXology
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|Length: 152 pages|
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These older concepts are not just a throwback to yesteryear, though. The whole point is using these in a way more wholly modern in execution. The story is an introspective character-drama rather than a traditionally action-heavy super hero comic. And Jeff Lemire is at the top of his game with all of this. I hate to give away anything he has going here, but it is sufficient to say that the struggles in this book feel original, fresh, and nuanced.
I did want to point out, though, my copy did have a slightly-more-than-small tear in the back cover and very last page inside, which I find surprising, as the stock of the cover feels a little sturdier than many other graphic novels in my collection. I'd guess that's probably a more one-off thing, so I wouldn't expect it to be a problem for anyone else.
Without giving away plot details, the premise is this: a 5-person team of superheroes fought a world-level threat and won, but the aftermath had the difficult consequence of sequestering them away in a new place (or world or dimension). The new place is a farm outside of an anonymous mid-Western town. There are stand-ins for Captain America, the Martian Manhunter, and Captain Marvel, but each have significant differences. The other two characters do not seem to have roots in any other major DC/Marvel stars. While it is a superhero comic, it is about how they cope in a forced retirement (though very different from Watchmen, as they have been completely removed from their world).
The art is excellent.
Lemire's writing is solid. I've read quite a few of his books, and they are consistently fantastic. Here, he explores the some classic superhero concepts with a twist. Their origins and powers are revealed over the course of the volume, and I found my interest in them shifting as each one got an opportunity in the spotlight. Things get pretty strange at times, some of which makes sense at the end of this arc. It certainly piqued my interest in the next part of the tale.
At first, I had mixed feelings on the art. It seemed somewhat simple and tended to be dark. That actually helps set the tone of the book. And when things start to get crazy, it's a nice change from the art at the beginning without sacrificing the style at all.