Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Dana Folkard
BLACK HAMMER #7 REVIEW
Summary: The story progresses as more is revealed about Black Hammer, the Anti-God and the heroes exile to the farm.
Emotional and thought-provoking.
Black Hammer is back and better than ever! This issue delves into the origin story of Joe Weber, a.k.a. Black Hammer. We discover more about him, his family and the connection he has to the Anti-God and the events that lead up to the heroes banishment to the farm. Old memories are rekindled as a strange visitor arrives on the farm, heralding change and hope for the exiled superheroes.
We begin #7 exploring the sad origin story of Joe Weber, a social worker from the Spiral Slums. An honest and hardworking man, Joe volunteers his time in the local soup kitchen, serving warm meals to the homeless. Late one night when heading home to his young family, Joe stumbles across a dying man who possesses a strange hammer that calls to Joe to pick it up. Little did he know that by picking up the hammer that the power and essence of this fallen hero transports into him, making him the new Black Hammer, defender of the New World and enemy of the cosmic despot, the Anti-God! Not only do we discover more about Joe and his past but we also jump to the present, where the previous issue left off, revealing more about the unexpected appearance of the woman, Lucy. Her arrival reawakens old memories of a sorrowful and dark past, whilst also stirring feelings of hope and optimism for an escape off the cursed farm. If she can travel through the force field, there must be a way for them to break out!
This is an exciting issue of Black Hammer, as we finally get to meet the man himself, Joe Weber! A fearless and heroic superhero, Joe accepts his new lot in life but not without conflict and doubt. Struggling over his loyalties towards his new role and his young family, it seems almost impossible for him to have been able to maintain a quiet life whilst trying to keep the balance between good and evil at bay. It’s actually pretty sad, especially when we already know what happens to Joe and the fate that awaits him. The final farewell between Joe and his daughter was particularly heart-breaking, as she begs for him to stay, knowing that if he leaves he may never return. Whilst this issue reveals much, there still remains a lot of unanswered questions and ambiguity surrounding the farm and the superheroes exile. It feels like everything is shrouded in mystery and that we are finally beginning to break through, slowly revealing more about their shared past and the events that marooned them in the first place. We also explore more about Lucy and her arrival on the farm. Her unexpected appearance stirs up a lot of confusion among the heroes, as they all struggle with conflicting emotions of doubt, unease, hope and optimism. It’s an interesting dynamic and I enjoyed seeing these characters all react in their own individual and unique way.
Dean Ormston’s art is powerful and visually diverse, reflecting various eras of superhero comic history. I’ve always enjoyed seeing his interesting interpretation of these eras, worked in his own unique and individual way. The New World and the Light Riders reminded me a bit of The Inhumans and they even had a Lockjaw inspired dog, except he’s a squishy pug called Warpie! Ormston’s art is wonderfully dark and gritty and I find that it perfectly reflects the overall ominous and sinister tone of the story. There is a lot of emotion in the haunted and chilling expressions on the faces of these jaded superheroes. They look defeated and broken from being stuck on the farm for so long and there is a weariness there that reflects their constant anxiety and desire to leave. This combined with the retro and pulpy vibe of his art come together to create a diverse and interesting visual narrative with nothing feeling stagnant or dull on the page. Colourist, Dave Stewart, employs a muted colour palette which I believe reflects the melancholy mood of the story. Everything is awash in darker tones, except for the flashback scenes, which stand out with vibrant bursts of colour.
Black Hammer #7 delivers an emotional dose of reflective storytelling. Joe Weber’s story is a sad one and it leads to a sad conclusion. I’m curious to discover more about Lucy and her journey to the farm and whether this renewed hope will eventuate into something more. Knowing that the hammer must never fall and that someone must always wield it has me intrigued with what will transpire next. I’m curious and excited for what the next issue will reveal and looking forward to learnning more about this mysterious story.
I’m giving this issue 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Title: Black Hammer #7
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart
Reviewer: Dana Folkard