By Dustin Cabeal
I had to catch up on the past two issues in order to review Black Hammer #8 and let me tell you; it was worth it. Not only were the last two issues incredible, but it made me more excited for this issue. Each issue tends to follow one character’s backstory, and this time it’s Gail, who has become one of my favorite characters of this series due to her predicament. There is something extremely interesting about this old woman trapped in a young girl’s body.
This issue shows that it’s two-fold, not only is it interesting because of her current status as an eternal child stuck in a town and unable to leave and transform, but also in her past life as well. She essentially creates a super family to take her place so she can retire and live a normal life. There is a theme of lost love beginning to show up in this newest arc as we see that Gail was seeing someone before their disappearance as well. This part of the story is interrupted when we find kid Gail alone in a bar drinking and smoking… oh boy, what the bartender must have been thinking seeing how much booze this young girl packed away.
There’s more going on in the story of course as everything starts to fall apart for Abe as he’s invited to leave town, knowing full well he can’t. Lucy, the newest addition to the story has the best scene of the comic, and I say that knowing the cliffhanger at the end. What she discovers is very interesting, paired with the ending it changes the entire vibe of the story.
Jeff Lemire’s writing on this series is wonderful. His retro golden age tale continues to feel fresh even though he’s cherry picking things from classic DC Comics. It’s the way that he’s using them that’s so damn interesting. Why his work here is so much more interesting than some of his other current titles, I have no idea. Especially since I’m not even that familiar with the source material he’s picking from for Black Hammer.
Dean Ormstron continues to be the breakout hit of this series. I’m sure the offers have been piling up, but I’m very happy to see he’s continuing the book. It does seem like the story is building towards a conclusion which means he’ll work on something else eventually, but for now, this is some of the best art in comics. The emotion he brings out in Gail’s character alone is masterful. You feel her pain and suffering, especially with the rest of the reveals in the issue. Her journey stretches throughout the issue, and while that cover doesn’t exactly play out this issue, I’m worried about what I’ll find in the next.
Black Hammer is Dark Horse’s best title to date. It's everything you want from this style of story in that it’s taking the golden age and adding modern darkness to it. It works incredibly well, especially when paired with the mystery of why these people are trapped and if they’ll ever get back home. I know I’ll be here to find out.
Black Hammer #8
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics