Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Illustrator(s): David Rubín.
Colourist(s): David Rubín.
Letterer(s): David Rubín.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: May 22nd 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Also in the Black Hammer universe:
Black Hammer (Vol. 1): Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer (Vol. 2): The Event by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer (Vol. 3): Age of Doom (Part One) by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer (Vol. 4): Age of Doom (Part Two) by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer ’45 by Jeff Lemire.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows by Jeff Lemire.
Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston have created a fantastic universe where superheroes and supervillains are honoured through an hommage to their existence. By creating a world where every little detail is a reminder of the greatness of comic book writers, artists, and stories, their franchise grows with countless potential avenues to expand and explore at every corner of their creative process. Serving as the first spin-off story of the Black Hammer universe, the story rewinds back to the young Lucy Weber as she attempts to understand the events following up to the Cataclysm that ultimately struck her father, the greatest heroes she’s ever known, and her city, leaving her dumbfounded with their civilization’s loss.
What is Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil about? Lucy Weber has never been the same ever since her father Black Hammer sacrificed himself for Spiral City in hopes of giving it the chance to live on. Without a hint of what happened to him during the tragic event that stole him away from her, she now channels her investigative reporting skills to figure it all out. What she doesn’t know is that the answers she seeks are within the stories of her father’s greatest foes. Collecting Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evils issues #1-4 and Black Hammer #12, the story offers a look at the villain’s perspective that made them who they are while unveiling Lucy’s journey for the truth.
“Let me tell you a story… After all, that is what this is all about, isn’t it? Stories. Well, this story starts a long time ago, in London. It starts in 1893 and it starts with a man… A man who used his mind to make himself more than a man.”
— Jeff Lemire
Without being as ground-breaking or refreshing as other story arcs within the Black Hammer universe, this spin-off serves as an interesting albeit unremarkable exploration of Lucy Weber’s story while also looking into some of the villains that have not had the chance to truly be developed in the canonical comic book run. With characters like Cthu-Lou, Metal Minotaur, and Dr. Sherlock Frankenstein, this volume offers fans the chance to discover their origin stories and how they fit into the tragedy that befell the well-beloved hero Black Hammer. Unfortunately, the mystery that plagues his end, explored through the young and inquisitive Lucy Weber, is disenchanting, to say the least, but still relevant to the original story to make this somewhat of a justified read.
What this volume excels at is its character designs for the villains and artist David Rubín does a phenomenal job in illustrating them in their depressed or villainous forms. That is, however, all the credit I can honestly muster out for him as his artwork didn’t grow on me by the end of the story. The facial expressions of several characters are too expressive—if that even makes sense—with giant bubbly eyes and exaggerated emotional states. Otherwise, the fantasy elements in the story are much more consistent with the tonality desired for the sequences in which they are. The colouring is also fantastic, drawing upon darker shades and explosive colours to illustrate the grimmer or hectic moments. How he assures coherence in the artwork through colour schemes that fit certain characters is also uplifting.
Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil is an interesting spin-off unveiling lore-essential character development amongst quirky villains.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!