By Courtney Ryan. Our Week In Review collects our thoughts on the comics that demand attention. Do you have a deep-rooted desire to know what we think about all your favorite books? Well. This is where you need to be.
Black Hammer #2
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Jeff Lemire.
Illustrated by Dean Ormston.
Colors by Dave Stewart.
CR: Tragedy and nostalgia tangle in the second installment of Black Hammer. Previously, Jeff Lemire set the stage for his heroes-in-exile tale, presenting the retro-futuristic Spiral City of the heroes’ past while mounting intrigue on the bucolic community they mysteriously can’t escape in the present. We also met each character and got a sense of their skill set. In issue #2 we get a peek into some of the ways these heroes are coping with their current situation, but this installment ultimately belongs to Golden Gail.
Back in Spiral City, we learn how Gail acquired her powers when she was nine years old, by acquiring an ancient magic word from a wizard named Zafram (in a clear ode to DC’s Shazam). But here’s the rub: whenever Gail shouts ZAFRAM! and transforms into Golden Gail, she takes the form of her 9-year-old body. Now old enough to be on the AARP mailing list and unable to use her magic word to transform out of her childhood body, Gail must live each day as a prepubescent kid, riding the school bus, attending grade school, and receiving lectures from her teacher when she’s caught smoking. It’s a twisted fate, and Lemire cleverly uses Gail’s corporeal imprisonment to challenge the sometimes myopic nostalgia that’s felt for the Golden Age of comics.
Though Black Hammer #2 is indeed a fun read and Dean Ormston’s unwavering talent is evidenced in every panel, I wish Lemire had used Gail’s backstory to further the plot or at least reveal a tad more of the mysterious circumstance that has locked our heroes in this rural universe. After the suspenseful conclusion to issue #1, this month’s installment feels a little tangential, though it’s a tangent I still highly recommend.
7.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
Agree? Disagree? What books are YOU reading this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.