Last month, Black Hammer focused on Golden Gail. This month the focus shifts from the title’s Shazam analogue to its Martian Manhunter analogue. How did the Warlord from Mars get here? Why did he stay? Let’s dig into Black Hammer #3.
- Writer: Jeff Lemire
- Art: Dean Ormston
- Colors: Dave Stewart
PASS THE OREOS
The issue opens with Barbalien, in his human alter ego, attending church. Still an alien, even on this new world he is trapped on, Barbalien, is trying to fit in. This leads into a flashback wherein we learn that Barbalien, real name Jan Janz, was a pacifist on Mars, a planet ruled by warring tribes. He was sent to Earth to find out how close mankind was to attacking Mars.
We see Barbalien find a human identity and attempt, horribly, to fit in. Seen by others as a monster, he allows himself to act as one.
There is a subplot involving Abraham Slam and his involvement with a waitress who is the ex-wife of the local sheriff. This relationship is causing the sheriff to look more closely at the mysterious family living on the outskirts of his town.
Black Hammer continues to deliver the goods in this strange new world. These are characters who look and feel familiar, but act very differently than their major label counterparts.
The mystery of how this team got stranded in another world is being explored in small steps. Each new piece of information adds to the bigger world and our understanding of it. By spending the first few issues focusing on the characters, the creators are giving the readers an emotional investment that is going to pay big dividends down the road.
Black Hammer is Lemire at the top of his game. He clearly has a love for the characters he based his cast on. Now, he’s playing around in his own sandbox with excellent results.
It’s not too late to get into Black Hammer. Do yourself a favor and jump in now.