Mind Capsules – Batman #3 and Black Hammer #1

Batman #3
Batman #3

Writer – Tom King
Artist – David Finch
Inker – Danny Miki
Colours – Jordie Bellaire
Letters – John Workman

Three issues in and Tom King has not wasted any time in bringing us the origins of Gotham and Gotham Girl, a nice surprise as it was totally unexpected. What is most interesting, though somewhat anticipated at least in a small way, is their background mirroring that of Bruce Wayne when he was a child. Everything is there – the alley, the mugger, the parents and so forth, the only difference being that Gotham’s parents lived due to Batman’s timely interference and thus was born the city’s newest protectors. Funny enough, Gotham’s sister was not present during the confrontation, but suffice it to say, she followed her brother’s lead and became a hero herself. That part of the story does not appear – just how it is they actually received their powers, but for the most part, King reveals all and does so in a very compelling narration. The rest of the book gets back to business as whatever these ‘Monster Men’ are or who they are remain a mystery and the acts of terrorism hitting the city continuing. The latest one hits one of the many bridges leading into Gotham and it is all the heroes can do to save everyone until Batman shows up to lend a hand. Such as it is though, as soon as he leaves, another bomb goes off in the city and when Gotham and Gotham Girl head to investigate, they are confronted by more than they bargained for – leaving the book on a cliff-hanger once again. Having the origin in this book was a good thing as it created a more personal connection with the reader. For the short time that these new heroes have been around, while they have certainly been intriguing, there was nothing there for the reader to latch onto. While it was not necessarily a bad thing, it was not a good thing either and this story changes all that, revealing the very human personalities beneath the masks. David Finch returns to pencil the book once again and his work looks as wonderful as ever, emboldened by Danny Miki and Jordie Bellaire. What was also nice to see with this issue was King improving upon the last issue, which was fairly weak compared to this one. All in all, the book was a good one and with the reveal at the end, it was even better and you will want to see what happens next.

3.5 out of 5

Black Hammer #1
Black Hammer #1

Writer – Jeff Lemire
Artist – Dean Ormston
Colours – Dave Stewart
Letters – Todd Klein

Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston bring a new superhero opus to Dark Horse and they do so with a subtle and quiet story, one without any action or explosions or fisticuffs and it might possibly be one of the best books to be released this week. The premise finds a group of former heroes living the quiet life out on a farm in the middle of nowhere, just outside of a nameless town. It has been ten years of solitude for them, the only company they really have being each other though the odd trip into town is made. At the moment, they are coming up on the tenth anniversary of their retreat from the public eye and while a few of them are bored to tears of being there and want nothing more than to leave, they stay all because of the sacrifice made to save them and give them this very life. Lemire paints this tale quite thoughtfully, giving us everything we essentially need to know about all of these characters, what happened to them and why they are there. While doing so, he jumps around a little bit in the presentation and permeates it with great character moments, introducing us to our cast of heroes, slowly but surely. It is a very compelling read, one that hooks you from the first moment through the main character’s narration to the end which leaves off on a half-mystery. The heroes themselves are quite interesting with Abraham Slam being the leader of the group, Golden Gail – a woman stuck in the body of a nine year old girl, Barbalien who is an alien from Mars, Colonel Weird – a man not unlike Adam Strange in a way and Walky, a robot who is trying not only to save them, but look after them as well. As for The Black Hammer, the hero that the book is named after – his fate remains to be seen, though from what is inferred, he is no longer with them though his presence remains. The pencils by Ormston are strong and Dave Stewart’s colours really make them jump from the page. The heroes are not only unique in name, but looks as well and while a few seem a little familiar, they are quite distinctive. With some stirring drama both within their group and without, this first book is off to a great start and it will be a lot of fun to see where it leads.

5 out of 5

2 replies »

  1. Batman #3 was an improvement over the first two issues. I’m getting more used to Tom King’s writing now, and the art is growing on me. While its still not quite got the same punch as Snyder and Capullos run yet, its shaping up ok. Will be interesting to see how this storyline pans out, especially with the cliffhanger engine / reveal. I’ve not read Black Hammer #1 but sounds good. Might check it out maybe. Great reviews! Have a fun new comic book day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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