Black Hammer Reborn #1
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by: Caitlin Yarsky
The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns in this ongoing series picking up twenty years later with new series artist Caitlin Yarsky.
Now, it’s twenty years later, and Lucy, and the world, have moved on. Living in the suburbs of Spiral City, Lucy is married and has children. But all is not blissful. Her marriage is falling apart, her job has reached a dead end, and for mysterious reasons, she hasn’t picked up the hammer in years. But, as her domestic life begins to crumble, the secrets of the last twenty years, and the reasons Lucy really gave up being Black Hammer, begin to resurface, threatening her family, and the peace she has tried hard to find for herself.
Black Hammer Reborn tells the now-familiar tale of superheroes who have moved on from heroing to try to lead a normal life, but have to return to it because something something power, something something responsibility. There’s plenty of interesting stories in that general genre, though, and it’s going to take a little more than that to make Black Hammer shine again.
So, she’s a mom now, and a wife, and her kids are brats and her husbands cheating, and the world is literally about to end unless she saves it, and that’s a great set up. But there’s just a little something flat in the story telling, as well as the art, that makes it all a bit boring. I like the idea, and a I really like the characters, but things just never got off to a great start. Maybe that’s just the necessary slow build up before all hell breaks loose… or maybe it’s just trying too hard to launch a new series without a great concept. I guess only time will tell.
And just like the story, Black Hammer’s art seems to miss the mark of excellence too. It’s good, but not great. The backgrounds and characters are nicely detailed and well-proportioned, there’s just little touches missing all over that would have really made this a fantastic title. Everything is a little too bright, and a little too sparse to really feel like the world these characters live in. Instead, most of it just comes across like a wooden stage for them to act in front of. It’s so close to being great, but it just can’t get there.
I’ve always thought a first issue can be difficult to get right, especially a first issue in the relaunch of an older series. Not only do they have to introduce all the characters, create some dramatic tension, and blow the readers’ minds, they also have to catch us up on all the important stuff that makes this relaunch worth happening, or at least hint it, AND they have to attract new readers while not turning off the old and faithful. It’s a tight rope act, for sure. Black Hammer Reborn #1 is a solid “B” work. It’s good, and does most of that well. It just doesn’t really explode off the page the way great comics can. But there’s plenty of evidence future issues might.
A Solid Relaunch, But Fails to Impress
Black Hammer Reborn isn't bad at all, but it just doesn't really grab me. It's a little too flat, and a little too mundane to really shine, but it's worth reading, and I'll likely keep an eye on it in case things improve. Interesting, but nothing stellar.