By Laramie Martinez
Black Hammer # 5 is a bold departure from what we’ve seen of the comic so far. In a lot of ways it’s what you would expect from the family’s strangest character. From the structure of the plot to the layouts of the pages themselves, this issue breaks the mold to create a jarring departure form the narrative. In the end its flaw isn’t in what the creators do differently, the problem stems from what stays the same. Keep reading to find out what that is.
This issue, like all the others has two narratives, the story of Colonel Weird, the character who occupies the crazy coot of a grandpa role in this bizarre family, and what would normally be a more family centric story, something that involves all the characters. While I enjoyed the origin of Colonel Weird, with regards to the family as a unit there really isn’t any new information in this issue. We instead get to see the last four issues played back to us through the lens of Colonel Weird. This review will be by default spoiler free because there aren’t any new developments in this issue. It reminds me a lot of the recap episodes you see in anime from time to time. And as a recap episode, utilizing the strange scope of Colonel Weird is a great device, I can’t give it as high a rating as I would other issues.
Despite this issue’s abrupt change in style, Ormston continues to do great work. Everything is on a tilt this issue. Colonel Weird’s random dips into the Para-Zone make for some interesting panels. There is never a dull moment here. Nerve clusters, windows into other worlds, and single roaming eyes litter a cosmic backdrop. But the greatest achievement here is the tortured visage of Colonel Weird himself. Red eyed and ragged, each expression we see is a mixture of fear and confusion. You can’t help but feel sorry for him.
It’s a decent issue, a little sad that we didn’t get more narrative bang for our buck, but I trust this team. There was one small hint in this issue, a single window where the Colonel saw into the future. It’s a storyline I hope to see come into the forefront now that the main cast have been established.
Black Hammer #5
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics