Before the farm, Abraham Slam protected Spiral City from threats big and small…  and occasionally, from his own ego.  Your Major Spoilers review of Black Hammer: Visions #3 from Dark Horse Comics awaits!


Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Johnnie Christmas
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 14, 2021

Previously in Black Hammer: VisionsBefore he was trapped with Spiral City’s greatest heroes on a mysterious limbo farm, aging hero Abraham Slam found himself already an outcast in his own world. And with the arrival of a belligerent reboot hero named Uncle Slam he finds himself having to put on the old tights again to show that there can be only one Slam in town.


We pick up at some point in the past, before the catastrophe that left the heroes of Spiral City locked in a weird hell-dimension, as Abe Slamkowski, the Golden Age superhero once known as Abraham Slam, returns home to his new lady friend.  She promises to make him a wonderful dinner, in part to soften the blow of the news: A young upstart has been anointed by the U.S. government as a new hero called The Slam.  Abe is bothered at being replaced, but even more upset when the new kid starts carrying a gun to deal lethal justice to his foes.  So bothered is he that he takes out his own old costume to confront his successor…

…and winds up in the hospital for his troubles.  Worse still, The Slam gets in over his head and is killed by a minor criminal, leaving Abe to wonder if he shouldn’t have offered to help the new hero rather than attack him.


The storyline’s resemblance to ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ is likely coincidental in timing, but both stories have their roots in Mark Gruenwald’s ’80s storyline where Captain America gave up his costume.  It is interesting to see this story take the tack that Abe should have helped rather than hindered the new Slam, especially in his interactions with Golden Gail during The Slam’s funeral.  The story also features real consequences for Abe’s impulsive actions, as his girlfriend leaves him for what she sees as childish behavior, which is an interesting take in superhero comics.  Johnnie Christmas makes in impressive showing with the art, keeping things in the established ‘Black Hammer’ vein, but also providing his own spin on things. The design of The Slam is such that he could be an ’80s, ’90s or new millennium character, and the combat sequences are excellent.  I especially enjoy the last scene, as Abe teaches his boxing lessons to a new young fighter from his gym, but isn’t interested in showing off, leaving the gym with a subtle smile.  It’s really well-done.


If there are downsides to Black Hammer: Visions #3, it’s that it is a little TOO similar in construction to similar “young vs. old” stories until we get the twist in the story, but it’s a strong issue that makes me want to seek out Christmas’ other works, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  If you’ve been looking for a way into the extensive Black Hammer multiverse, this series of done-in-one guest-creators might be a good way to get started on Lemire’s magnum opus.

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It's not your standard ranch stash of comics, but it's a really good story and it goes perfectly with the established 'Black Hammer' universe. I really like this issue.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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