Another chapter of the Black Hammer universe comes to a close with The Unbelievable Unteens #4. Writer and series creator Jeff Lemire and artist Tyler Crook end this mini-series with a charming yet safe. However, with endearing creative choices and outstanding visual work, this chapter is still a worthwhile entry into the Black Hammer mythos.
“Unbelievable Unteens comic book artist Jane Ito finds her world turned upside down after discovering her comic book creations were real and she was one of them. As she and the Unteens reunite and put the pieces together they take on the forces that disbanded them for one final fight.”
Writing & Plot
On the whole, Jeff Lemire’s work on The Unbelievable Unteens has been compelling and intimate, if not just shy of the main series’ quality. This final issue truly encapsulates this. The Unteens come back together for one final bout, they defeat their old foe, and it all end in melancholy. There are some great quiet moments among the main cast. Lemire installs a constant feeling of complicated camaraderie here. Every character feels like a person, with their own quandaries and hidden traumas from what they experienced as a teen superhero team. Watching these people struggle to make peace with themselves and each other is genuinely engaging. This is especially impressive since we’re only given four issues to experience their story.
That last point is also this finale’s main problem. Despite the buildup we’ve gotten for this final fight the battle itself is rather anticlimactic. After the battle, the rest of the issue plays out in a satisfying but predictable manner. It’s a sweet ending, but not one that will be remembered. All in all, Lemire pens an entertaining but somewhat forgettable ending to this mini-series.
Tyler Crook does what he does best in The Unbelievable Unteens #4. The Harrow County artist provides every bit of the visual experience here, including the pencils, colors, and lettering. Crook’s unique care he puts into character art shines in this comic. Those who have read Harrow County understand just how essential his work was for bringing that cast to life. The same goes here in Unteens. The full range of human emotion is captured near-perfectly in every moment on every panel. Each member of the Unteens is presented uniquely, with the weight of their struggles and how they handle them together plainly painted on their faces. There’s an undeniable charm to Crook’s representations that makes these characters easy to like and interface with.
Crook’s action scenes, albeit short-lived, have a kinetic punch, and his set pieces are cool and convincing. My favorite part in this issue comes by way of a very Black Hammer-style nod to a classic coat-and-hat-clad comics wanderer (no spoilers). Crook knocks this Easter egg out of the park with a design that is obvious, but different enough not to cause confusion to the unwary. His watercolor style never gets old, either. This unique approach nails the tone of the more personal sequences and also adds life and energy to the big action scenes. His choice of dark greens and greys for scenes in Jane’s apartment really craft a feeling of quiet solitude. At the same time, the fire-y action scenes explode with power in an over-the-top power struggle.
Crook’s lettering is always solid, with some cool speech-bubble choices being the highlight in Unteens. His font approach is a noticeably hand drawn but professionally legible approach. He has a certain character’s speech as a pretty neat white-on-purple bubble. This will likely draw comparison’s to Todd Klein’s work on Sandman, but it’s still a cool touch. All in all, Tyler Crook nails every end of this comic’s visual storytelling experience.
The Unbelievable Unteens #4 is a compelling and entertaining, if not predictable and rushed, end to this mini-series. Jeff Lemire’s newest chapter in the Black Hammer universe ends with some charming, intimate, and sweet character moments, but is marred by an anticlimactic final battle. Tyler Crook’s pencils, colors, and letters are gorgeously animated and tonally stellar, as we have come to expect from him. If you’re a fan of the world of Black Hammer, be sure to grab this finale when it hits shelves on 11/10!