Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #2 – Jeff Lemire, Writer; Michael Walsh, Artist; Nate Piekos, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: One of the most ambitious and unconventional crossovers DC has taken part in during their recent crossover boom, this story works as both an introduction to the world of Black Hammer for new readers – the first issue of the crossover picked up an audience of 400% over the series’ usual ratings – and a self-contained mystery that sets up some fascinating stuff for both sets of characters who have found themselves world-swapped. When we last left off, a mysterious salesman-like character had shown up at both the farm and the Hall of Justice to offer the heroes a mysterious “vacation” that left the Black Hammer characters swapped in a world not their own – and the Justice Leaguers trapped on the mysterious farm, believing they had been there ten years. Bruce still looks out for crime, but finds himself foiled by the cruel Sheriff Trueheart. Clark and Diana have settled into farm life, but Cyborg is cut off from the internet and becomes more withdrawn by the day. As for Flash, parallels to another Black Hammer hero abound.
Things are no less easy for the heroes from the Farm, as their initial battle with Starro is interrupted by the remaining heroes of Earth, including John Stewart, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. I was a little surprised by how aggressive Hawkgirl was out of the gate, as she seems to instantly consider mysterious new metahumans a threat. Martian Manhunter and Barbalien comparing notes was one of the best parts of the issue, and John Stewart goes on a brilliantly surreal journey with Captain Weird that lets artist Michael Walsh show off his unique art stylings – complete with some unexpectedly bizarre guest stars. This is still definitely more of an introduction to Black Hammer than a full exploration of the universe’s potential – it’s probably the most unique and fascinating original shared superhero universe since Astro City – but its characters are top-notch and it’s great to see Lemire get to play in the sandbox with DC’s most iconic heroes again. We’re only a third in, and I think this series is going to continue to evolve into something fascinating.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.