Getting older is never easy and it’s even tougher for Abraham Slam when a young upstart takes on his super hero persona. He can’t swing as hard as he used to, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a hero.
Super heroes rarely age. There’s something there to explain why they are constantly in their 30s or 40s, like they have a super soldier serum or come from an alien world. Abraham Slam doesn’t have that luxury. He’s a regular guy without any super powers, but he does know what’s right and that’s what’s made him a hero. As he’s gotten on in years, he’s found a life outside of the capes and tights crowd, but that changes when the government reboots his heroic persona with a grittier, more violent version and he can’t let that stand.
We had a good understanding of Abraham Slam through the original Black Hammer series, but this issue provides a deep, fascinating look at the character before he was stranded on that farm in limbo. You don’t need to have read anything else in the Black Hammer Universe to dive into this issue and get up to speed on this hero.
Black Hammer: Visions #3 shows a man coming to terms with his limits. This isn’t Rocky Balboa where he’s going to get one last good fight in. Abraham is an old man now and he’s going to get himself killed by the younger, faster vigilantes and criminals on the streets today. His dignity takes a big hit when he tries to get out there and he ends up in the hospital instead. Writer Chip Zdarsky pens this humbling tale of a hero getting on in years.
Artist Johnnie Christmas is a perfect fit for this story, capturing the sadness and regret on Abraham’s face as he struggles to figure out what to do next. Is he willing to give up everything he’s worked for in his life because some kid is running around in a new version of his costume?
Abraham was a street level hero and Christmas matches that aspect up to the look and feel of the character. He’s not a flashy guy. Instead, he’s more humble and modest. When his pride gets the better of him is when he gets in trouble. Dave Stewart’s colors line up with this well too, showing a world that has the bright palette of the super hero world, but mixed with reality and civilian life. It bridges the gap between them.
When Abraham confronts his replacement, it’s a tense scene made even more so by Nate Piekos‘ lettering. Abrahams’ internal narration is tight and comes in fits and spurts, like all his focus is on the fight. His thoughts are short with a few words here and there. They’re also broken up, as if it’s a struggle to connect the dots.
There’s only so many ways I can tell you that the Black Hammer comics always deliver. If you haven’t figured out by now that this is a world of super heroes that you need to be a part of, I don’t know what to tell you. Black Hammer: Visions is a testament to that, delivering new and exciting takes on the capes and tights genre with every issue. These are powerful character studies that show the humanity behind the mask and they are not to be missed.