One team trapped, one team freed, but neither is happy about it. Your Major Spoilers review of Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer Of Justice #2 awaits!
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Michael Walsh
Colorist: Michael Walsh
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Editor: Dorkfish Walinski
Publisher: Groupname Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 14, 2019
Previously in Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer Of Justice: After a mysterious stranger warps reality, the out-of-practice Black Hammer heroes must contend with both Starro and the rest of the DC universe. Meanwhile, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg try to adjust to life on Black Hammer Farm, while Colonel Weird and the Green Lantern try to uncover the secret behind this reality swap and the strange man who started it all.
THE PLOT THICKENS
In the still of the night at Black Hammer Farm, there’s no crime, no Riddler, no mysteries to untangle, but that doesn’t stop Bruce Wayne from “patrolling” the streets. Lacking a Batmobile, though, he does it in a ’48 Chevy pickup, which once again (from their perspective) gets the atteention of Sherriff Trueheart, who warns him that he has no authority or jurisdiction to try and protect the city. Returning to the farm, Bruce has a surly conversation with Clark Kent, who seems to be fitting in perfectly, but in truth misses Lois and their son Jon. Meanwhile, back in the DCU, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Madame Dragonfly and Abraham Slam are forced to face Starro The Conqueror, but their lack of practice (and the friction that comes from ten years of exile together) makes it difficult. The arrival of the remainder of the Justice League (Hawkgirl, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter) turns the tide, while Colonel Weird has a difficult conversation with Green Lantern. Fortunately, the Para-Zone allows them to view past, present and future simultaneously, identifying that the same creature (who is totally Mxyzptlk, you guys) appeared on the farm and in Metropolis to swap the team’s positions. As the issue ends, we find out where Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Flash have ended up… and not all of them are in good shape.
“MOST OF ALL, I WISH BARRY HADN’T SACRIFICED HIMSELF…”
One the one hand, this issue builds the tension and confusion of our heroes in their new settings, with important moments for most all the cast. Cyborg is afraid to leave the farm, Wonder Woman is frustrated to be a schoolteacher, Hawkgirl is mistrustful of the newcomers. Oh, and Gail is making Aquaman very unconfortable with her advances, since she’s in her fifties but looks 10 forever. On the other hand, it’s a very slow burn, which makes this issue feel a bit slow. As much as I appreciate Batman’s monologue about how he knows a mask, and the entire world he thinks he’s been in for a decade is all about them, this chapter doesn’t feel like a fully satisfying chunk of story on its own. Of course, Lemire’s dialogue helps overcome that somewhat, and I very much enjoy Walsh’s art. He’s able to convey both the traditional superhero stuff and the deconstructive parts of Black Hammer equally effectively, The arrival of Martian Manhunter is pretty amazing, as is the moment where he comes face-to-face with Barbalien. (“Everybody knows Martians are RED!”)
BOTTOM LINE: I LIKE IT, BUT IT’LL READ BETTER IN THE TRADE
All told, there’s a lot to like about Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer Of Justice #2, including successful juxtaposition of inspiration and parody and some very strong art throughout the issue, with the only real complaint being that things are moving somewhat slowly, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Even knowing that, though, I would recommend this comic to fans of Black Hammer or anyone who enjoys seeing the Justice League out of their element and forced to be resourceful, and I look forward to the rest of this series, if only for final proof of my Mxyzptlk theory.
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BLACK HAMMER/JUSTICE LEAGUE: HAMMER OF JUSTICE #2
It's a slower burn than I'd like, but it seems to be going somewhere interesting, and it looks pretty great.