The heroes of Spiral City are trapped, powerless, in what seems like a perfect, idyllic world.
So, why aren’t they enjoying it? Your Major Spoilers review of Black Hammer #2 awaits!
Previously in Black Hammer: “Banished from their own history, the Golden Age heroes of Spiral City are doomed to live out eternity in an idyllic, timeless farming community… but not all is ideal. Interstellar adventurer Col. Weird and his robot sidekick Talky-Walky experiment with different modes of escape; Golden Girl and Barbalien brood together, while Madame Dragonfly broods in isolation; and Abraham Slam is just trying to hold the team together.
In their ten years of exile, only the Black Hammer, invincible champion of the streets, has managed to escape… though it may have cost him his life.”
GOLDEN GAIL’S EXISTENTIAL DILEMMA
This issue opens with Golden Gail’s origin, a wonderful pastiche of Captain Marvel’s, as a strange vendor gives her tickets to a theatre, which turns out to be empty, save for a mysterious wizard. He tells her that he will always be with her to help, as long as she can say his name…
…cut to the present day, where she has spent ten years trapped as a little girl, since the magic always returns her to the form she had on that day. Lemire does a really good job of delivering a fifty-five year old woman in the body of a child, as Gail once again sets off on her first day of fourth grade. Things go bad, quickly, but thanks to Madame Dragonfly’s magic, the status quo is maintained. At the same time, Talky-Walky and Barbalien make their seventh attempt to get a mystic probe to pierce the shield around the city, which leads to their seventh failure.
Or does it?
SOMETHING IS HAPPENING
After ten years trapped, everyone is on the edge of collapse, with Abraham Slam the only one willing to accept their new life, embracing his new identity as a farmer. Ormiston’s art is amazingly elastic this issue, giving us Golden Age flashbacks, the adventures of the heroes in Spiral City’s heyday and the present oh-so-very-mundane world with ease. As with any story that has a mystery at its core, the current situation has to be engaging enough to make you care about the characters as all the strangeness unfolds, and the creators have pulled that off here. The use of archetypical heroes can be difficult, but Lemire manages to put a group of familiar Golden Agers together without feeling overly familiar, and the last page surprise promises big changes in the near future.
THE BOTTOM LINE: MYSTERIOUS AND SUSPENSEFUL
In short, Black Hammer #2 does a wonderful job of balancing familiar heroes in a Dark Horse Heroes Mignolaverse-style world, and does so with some truly impressive art and characters that you care about, earning a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. If you’ve ever wondered what a Hellboy/Avengers crossover might end up feeling like, this may be the book for you, and even if you haven’t, it’s a fascinating premise that entertains…