In case some of you haven’t heard, this issue was delayed after the artist for this series, Dean Ormston, suffered a brain hemorrhage in April last year. The injury caused paralysis along the right side of his body and as a result this issue was delayed for the better part of a year. If this issue’s art is any indication of his recovery, I am happy to say that Dean has bounced back better than ever. This is an excellent follow-up to a brilliant first issue. Marvelous comeback, Mr. Ormston. Great to have you back. The art in this issue is a testament to not only Ormston’s talent, but perhaps more so to his dedication. It is as if nothing has changed. He and Dave Stewart are an amazing team, bouncing between the flashbacks of the glory days of these super heroes to the bleak reality of the small town they are trapped in. There are small differences in the pencil styles between the past and present and Stewart juxtaposes the time frames through great inking. This is a wonderfully drawn comic, dripping with nostalgia and heart.
Second issues are challenging. Where first issues are all hooks, flashes, and bangs, second issues need to balance which plot lines to follow without neglecting. Which character relationships to focus on as well as which characters’ backgrounds need flushing out is an obstacle. Lemire executes this perfectly, flushing out different characters’ relationships. He introduces Lady Dragonfly to the Abraham and Gail dynamic, hinting at some kind of triangle between the three of them. We also see a bit of leniency and understanding on the part of Abraham, who until this point has appeared to be the hard-ass of the group, especially when it comes to Gail. We also get a glimpse of Talky-Walky and Barbalien’s relationship, which was instantly a great addition. The nonchalant Barbalien with the hyper-driven Talky-Walky made for some great humor and heartbreak. It’s great to see other communication and struggles beyond the major conflict which until this point has been Gail and Abraham.
The pacing of the issue is perfect. Lemire lets us know where we’re headed but doesn’t tell us what we’ll find when we get there. From the carefully placed crisis of faith moments scattered throughout the first and second issues and the cover of the next issue, we can safely assume that next issue will revolve around Barbalien’s background, hopefully providing the level insight we received in this issue for Gail.
This is an excellent comeback for the creative team. After six months of not working together it’s good to see a team hit the ground running. I can’t wait to see what this team will do with the rest of the series.
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Black Hammer #2 Writer: Jeff Lemire Artists: Dean Ormston Colorists: Dave Stewart Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Print: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital