Jeff Lemire’s long-awaited Black Hammer is a “labor of love” – at least that’s how the 40-year-old writer puts it. While other books are filled with arcs and a rebirth of characters, Black Hammer explores what happens to those heroes who don’t survive a multiverse crossover.
“It’s the story of five superheroes who have been wiped out of their comic book universe and wake up on a small farm in a small town with no idea how they got there, trying to find their way back home,” Lemire said in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. “On a more thematic level, it’s become a metaphor for any family. Everyone’s family is pretty crazy, but the superheroes enhance that and create a pretty fun metaphor.”
In the preview of the first issue readers are introduced to the primary cast: the fatherly figure Abe, the too-cool-for school 9-year-old girl Gail, the rebellious Barbalien, and the caretaker figure of Colonel Weird’s sidekick, Talky Walky (who’s cooking breakfast for everyone – a very Donkey move).
While the preview doesn’t reveal much of the group’s background or how they’ve gotten to their rural home, it does sum up everyone’s attitude towards their current predicament. In the few panels we’re given, you can see just how ordinary these extraordinary people have had to become. Lemire flips the age-old trope of everyday folk yearning to be heroes and has given readers the tale of heroes forced to normalcy. It’s an intriguing story line – one that has me longing for more.
It will be interesting to learn how each individual’s lifestyle now compared to what I assume was once a fast-paced life. What have they lost? What have they gained? Why weren’t they needed anymore? Each upcoming issue will be dedicated to each hero’s back story, and personally, I am very much looking forward to finding out what happened.
Lemire’s vintage-like variant covers, are reminiscent of a 50s era Superman comic. I mean this in the best way possible. Sitting alongside an array of different books at your comic book shop, this one has catch your eye. The variants are vibrant and Dean Ormston’s artwork is beautifully detailed. From each character’s facial expressions to their surroundings, it is easy to submerse yourself in the comic’s mood and setting thanks to it.
Black Hammer will be worth checking out. It’s a new spin from your typical superhero story, and a fresh idea on how these heroes can cope and meet new challenges. Preorders are available here. The comic is out July 20th.