Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Colonel Weird, and Madame Dragonfly have been stranded in a strange world for ten years. They were once the heroes of Spiral City. Now they’re trapped in a bubble of sorts. Black Hammer’s daughter, Lucy has tracked them down, but now she’s stuck too. She’s not going to settle into this new life though. She’s determined to break out and find out what happened to her father.
We know the gist of how the heroes ended up here. Black Hammer #13 starts to show us the details of the epic battle against the Anti-God. It’s easy to make comparisons to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths as there are some definite parallels. Imagine if the entire Justice League vanished during the Crisis instead of just Barry Allen. How would the world go on after losing all of its heroes?
The book shows the lives of each of the heroes moments before they’re unceremoniously summoned for battle, plucked from their new routines to fight an ultimate evil. Some had retired, giving up their capes to pursue a normal everyday life. This is especially true for Golden Gail who had finally found happiness. To have wanted this for so long only to have it snatched away and then to be stuck in the body of a child, is absolutely heartbreaking.
Black Hammer #13 bounces between these events from the past and those in the present day at the farm. They serve as a nice juxtaposition as the former is a last ditch effort to save the world while the latter shows how the same heroes have all but given up. Their lives, which they’ve spent so much time carefully crafting, have started to unravel.
Dean Ormston was born to draw Black Hammer. His artwork perfectly matches up to the tone and the gravitas of the story. You get these moments that speak volumes with just a person’s glance. This is true of the preparations for battle in the past and the somber resignations in the present. These facial expressions speak volumes.
You know that trope of making super heroes grim and gritty? That’s more than just having a character act super tough or cloaking them in shadows. Ormston’s work represents the ideal version of those terms. There’s a realism to it. These characters are feeling actual emotions, not just gritting their teeth or brooding on a gargoyle.
Dave Stewart’s colors complete the package, amplifying the mood of every image. The one exception are the scenes with Lucy, where it’s a bit lighter. She represents a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dreary, hum-drum world. She is the catalyst for change.
Black Hammer has been steadily building over each issue, pulling us deeper and deeper into the lives of these characters. It feels like it’s on the verge of something big and I cannot wait to see where it goes next. This is a next level super hero comic.