Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! by Jeff Lemire

details
TITLE: Black Hammer/Justice League.
Story-Arc: Hammer of Justice!.
WRITER(S): Jeff Lemire.
Artist(S): Michael Walsh.
Colourist(s): Michael Walsh & Toni-Marie Griffin.
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot.
PUBLISHER
Dark Horse Books.

FORMAT: HARDCOVER.
RELEASE DATE: April 7th, 2020.
PAGES: 168.
GENRE(S): COMICS, SCIENCE-FICTION.
ISBN13: 9781506710990.

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆.

Co-created with the help of artist Dean Ormston, writer Jeff Lemire was finally able to deliver a project that he has been working on for years: Black Hammer. Uniquely distinguished in terms of artistic vision, it also served as a beautiful and intimate love letter to Golden Age superheroes while focused on its own story-line filled with deception and a pursuit for happiness. While the main story-arc is now completed, it gave birth to a large catalog of spin-off series that varied greatly in terms of quality for both the story and artwork. This time around, with a cross-platform movie and television shared universe currently in the works, creator Jeff Lemire now embarks on an adventure that will allow him to crossover his Black Hammer universe with one of the most beloved team-ups belonging to DC Comics: The Justice League.

What is Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! about? Set in two distinct yet familiar universes, the story introduces an eerily mysterious individual suddenly arriving simultaneously on Black Hammer Farm and in Metropolis. While the six heroes of Spiral City (Abraham Slam, Barbalien, Golden Gail, Colonel Randall Weird, and Madame Dragonfly) continue to dwell in the past as they try to adjust their lives around their unbearable reality where they remain trapped at the farm, and the Justice League heroes (Superman, Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg) fight off a Starro invasion, the strange man accomplishes the impossible by warping the two teams into one another’s universe. It is only through trust, communication, and acceptance that these heroes can work towards solving this unwarranted anomaly. This stand-alone crossover event collects Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #1-5 as well as pinup art by various artists.

“Maybe so, but all stories end eventually…”

– Jeff Lemire

Cross-publisher crossover events tend to struggle immensely in developing a coherent and wholesome story. It’s inevitable. If the reader is unaware of either universe, there’s a significant chance of falling through the cracks and being incapable to understand the appeal of such a story. It wasn’t the case for writer Jeff Lemire. He does a commendable job in trying to summarize the grander themes that are usually at play within the Black Hammer universe to try and give these characters some foundation to work with. This issue is also almost non-existent when it comes to the Justice League since their reputation precedes them. This allowed him to quickly establish his characters and focus on the story at hand.

But that doesn’t stop this story to find its own share of issues along the way. The premise is excellent and allows a fascinating take on both franchises, revealing the similarities and differences between both casts in an explicit fashion. Writer Jeff Lemire even integrates a few of his metaphysical elements from his Black Hammer universe to maintain that series’ identity. However, once the antagonist is revealed, the story goes down a slippery slope, a descent into mundanity. In fact, the action sequences become conventional, the resolution is obvious and predictable, and the dialogue loses authenticity, especially between the characters from both universes.

Partnered with artist Michael Walsh, this crossover event does also succeed in delivering some style to the journey at hand. Complemented by a tricolour scheme, the character designs respected the original source material of each of their universes and offered a coherent vision that justified the crossover event. Splash pages also presented some stunning moments that captured the magic of each of these worlds while also accentuating critical moments in the narrative. On top of that, the artwork was able to convey the emotions of the characters but didn’t always go all the way to turn this crossover event into a psychological and individual journey for these characters. If anything, this serves as an entertaining entry point for readers who aren’t necessarily accustomed to these heroes.

Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! is a decent crossover event exploring two distinct yet similar universes.


EXHIBITA
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKGOODREADSTWITTER – OUTLOOK

24 comments

  • I do not read Justice League stories, but have watched the movies. It sounds like it could be confusing to bring two different worlds together. I assume there are different “heroes” as well? A side note, Jeff Lemire lives in the same county as me. I have heard great things about his work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad to hear that, Carla! The animated series was a huge part of my own childhood! For this story, they decided to go with the main heroes of each franchises. It would’ve been quite messy otherwise hahah

      Ohhhh that’s so cool! I’ve read a lot of his stuff and find that he’s got some great ideas. It would be so interesting to meet him at some events!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Carla! I appreciate it a lot! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mmm I get why it would be a struggle to bring something coherent Lashaan. Even crossover in romance series are tricky 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hm, sounds interesting but I’ve often found that these cross-publisher/cross-universe team-ups rarely end up working all that well (although there have been some good attempts – Judge Dredd/Aliens, Judge Dredd/Predator and there are some Batman/Superman Aliens/Predator crossovers I’m curious about). There’s obviously an audience for things such as this, especially for Black Hammer fans, but it probably won’t appeal to me not being familiar with Lemire’s Black Hammer universe. Awesome review my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m completely with you. I like certain ideas explored in these crossovers but they usually feel so rough without a clear idea behind it all.

      Exactly. I think the main audience here are fans of the Black Hammer franchise. I don’t see why anyone else could see any interest in this story otherwise. Plenty of stand-alone Justice League stories that are worth their time. Thanks, Chris!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Every time you’ve reviewed a black hammer book, it has never appealed to me. This was no exception.

    How big is the black hammer reach, in terms of being known throughout the comic world? Chris Evans mentions some other cross overs (batman, superman,alien, predators. by the way, the superman/alien crossover was terrible and the batman/predator started out well but by the 3rd iteration it also was terrible) but those were all big enough that each franchise was aware of the other at least. Does anyone know about black hammer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that is indeed the main issue here. Only fans of Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer franchise would really dare take the time to read such a crossover. There’s nothing out there YET that gives Black Hammer any legitimacy to be relevant whatsoever. It’s why I think the TV/movie universe they’re planning on creating is its only real chance to become something bigger but we won’t know if that’s going to be a hit or miss till it’s actually out…

      Liked by 1 person

  • Crossovers can be difficult enough. I’ve found I rarely enjoy them, though there are always exceptions. But crossovers across publishers? Just that much more of a challenge. Not impossible, but it takes something special for it to really stand out. In this case I’m not at all familiar with Black Hammer. I like the cover design, though, with each team in the others world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m completely with you. It’s no easy feat and I often thought that they existed just to please the imagination of long-standing fans too. Black Hammer is a pretty new franchise that has its ups and downs. I found that once he decided to indulge multiple spin-offs at the same time, the franchise took a hit and dropped in quality. It still has some promising ideas though! Same here. Definitely a fan of the whole design and the art style that they went with for this graphic novel! Thanks for reading, Todd! I appreciate it. 😀

      Like

  • “a descent into mundanity” sounds about right 😉 Not a fan of crossovers, there’s always a lot of bickering and pushing for space, and mostly ridiculous story lines :P, plus Black Hammer sounded to me like an interesting concept for one or two longer comics, not a whole series…
    Great review, as always, Lashaan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed! I think this is mostly for those “completionists” and fans of Black Hammer. Just to see what Jeff Lemire wanted to accomplish with these characters. I think think the first volumes (the main storyarc) and a couple of spinoffs (maybe 1 or 2) are really decent to check out though! It’s just everything after and in-between that sort of kill things hahah Thanks for reading, Ola! I appreciate it a lot, as always! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely not an easy feat. You’d have to make sure that both universes are well known and that the story in itself doesn’t focus too long on each character’s history but rather their motives. Thanks for reading, Lydia! 😀

      Like

  • Ooh crossovers are always so exciting, if done correctly! It seems like this one was enjoyable until the villain reveal… maybe the writers were too tired to think up of a creative resolution? (lol) I’m still glad you ended up enjoying it though, despite issues!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was an interesting villain choice too but how the story evolved from the moment forward was just dull… Still fun for what it is though, just nothing that extraordinary. Fans of the Black Hammer franchise will likely enjoy this one nonetheless hahah Thanks for reading, Aila! 😀

      Like

  • The idea of developing a plot through two universes at the same time sounds interesting, I don’t know if I would’ve like that, though 😂 I usually like when stories I like aren’t too mixed up with others! Great review, Lashaan 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. It’s much more enjoyable to be in a universe you know of and to see it being explored even more than ever. Crossovers are usually really random and out of the blue though. I just like seeing how writers try and make it blend together, even if it doesn’t always work hahah Thanks for reading, Caroline! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s