Another day in the life of Skulldigger, but today he remembers Bijou. Who is she and what is her connection with him? Find out in Black Hammer: Visions #5 from Dark Horse Comics!

BLACK HAMMER: VISIONS #5

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Leonardo Romero
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 9, 2021

Previously in Black Hammer: Visions: We have seen a variety of one-shot tales featuring several characters from the Black Hammer universe. Skulldigger is no exception as he recalls an incident from his past.

ONE NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM…

Black Hammer: Visions #5 opens with a montage of the vigilante coming home and removing his mask. He momentarily touches a scar on his face. Suddenly we are back in the past. As Skulldigger watches, a jewel thief sneaks into a museum exhibition, cuts the glass on a display case, and nabs a particularly large, fine diamond. A surprised, guard tells her to freeze, and to drop it. Smiling, she jokes that she can’t do both and she tries to calm him down. She is hiding a bolas behind her and uses this to knock the gun out of his hand.

Then Skulldigger steps in, and the thief introduces herself as Bijou. She gets a little flirty with him, but he insists that she give him the diamond. With no other response at all from him, she drops the gem into his hand, leaves through the skylight, and the diamond explodes in a puff of smoke. She apologizes, saying she knew there would be fireworks when they met, but this is not what she was hoping for. And she blows him a kiss.

The diamond was on loan from a man named Vanger. Over the next several days? Weeks perhaps? Skulldigger has further run-ins with Bijou, always over something related to Vanger. She always slips away and is always a little flirty, even kissing him. Finally, he sees Vanger is having a big gala, and he assumes she will be after the money.

But before the big event, as he works in his butcher shop, a woman with three dogs walks in and flips the “Open” sign to “Closed.” It is Bijou in civilian clothes. She tracked him by scent, with the help of her dogs. He counters with some comments that show he has been investigating her as well. But she came her to ask for his help. She wants to stop Vanger’s plans for destroying one of the last green spaces around Spiral City, but she cannot do it alone. Skulldigger will not help.

They meet at the gala, where she jokes about how nicely he cleans up. He begs her not to go through with whatever she plans. She says it is too late, and then Grimjim arrives. Things rapidly start sliding out of control as Grimjim changes the plan – and changes everything.

At its heart, this is a love story, and it is very sweet although, in the great tradition of love stories, it is also a tragedy. I really enjoyed being able to see this memory, this moment in time when we see Skulldigger being just a bit human.

A BLAZE OF COLOR IN A GRAY WORLD

The art in Black Hammer: Visions #5 fits the story excellently well. Skulldigger is a no-nonsense vigilante, and the strong inks and dramatic shadows emphasize this to perfection. Enter Bijou. The contrast could not be more stark. Despite being a thief, her costume is white, her hair light blonde. She is the opposite of shadows. She is the latest in a long line of light-hearted artists of legerdemain. The montage of their encounters, despite all being at night, use bright colors to set them off. It is as though Bijou has brought color into Skulldigger’s otherwise dark world.

We see how Bijou’s exuberance and flirtation is getting through to Skulldigger, wearing him down the tiniest bit. Their first encounters are playful, but when Bijou goes to him to ask for help and she gets close to him, we see that she is more serious. But he doesn’t back off either. As she tries to talk him into joining her, their hands rest on the counter, almost touching. In fact, when Skulldigger tells her he will try to stop her, he grasps her hand. She pulls away, but the contact is electric.

BOTTOM LINE: THE NEMESIS THAT ALMOST WASN’T

Black Hammer: Visions #5 is a lovely, bittersweet story that perfectly captures a crucial event in Skulldigger’s life. It is intimate and contained, and to read it feels like we have been privy to a well-cherished secret.


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Black Hammer: Visions #5

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Lovely

When vigilante meets sneak thief, sparks fly, but oh so briefly.

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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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