Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ball Peen Hammer” as Want to Read:
Ball Peen Hammer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ball Peen Hammer

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
The world is dying. After most of the city succumbed to the plague, Welton's staying inside -- permanently. But hiding in his claustrophobic basement room -- the only place he knows is safe -- exacts a gruesome price, and he becomes part of a collective that's killing children. Infected with the plague himself, with no way to find the woman he loves, Welton takes refuge in ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by First Second
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ball Peen Hammer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ball Peen Hammer

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I loved the premise of this graphic novel, with the world on the brink of total destruction, maybe well into that destruction. People fighting for food, people diseased and forced to do things they never wanted to. Yet my initial interest slowly dissolved. The story drug, went no where, and by the end, I really did not care what happened, except maybe to Exley. The storyline put 'It's a Small World" in my head for more than a day, what with the coincidence of the characters being so close in pro ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Chez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, horror
I am of the opinion that people who give this graphic novel a bad review just because it is depressing are kind of missing the point. This book is extremely depressing, horrifying, and morally stomach-turning, and it is meant to be so. It's not for the faint of heart, or anyone who's looking for even a glimmer of hope or happiness in the end.

The artwork is bleak and excellent, and its classic Adam Rapp writing definitely breaks down, through a few simple post-apocalyptic conversations, humanity
Jun 04, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Stunning artwork, brutal story. I'm still recovering. Booklist quote on the back reads, "Not for gentle readers," and I must heartily concur. It is quite disturbing, even for someone who considers herself president of the Adam Rapp fan club!
Sep 22, 2009 J.C. rated it it was ok
There are Certainly Better Graphic Novels Out There

Ball Peen Hammer, by Adam Rapp, is an average graphic novel on a good day. The story follows two former (and separated) lovers in a destructive and despair ridden world as they try and survive. Other than introducing a small handful of unique and somewhat colorful characters, that is pretty much the story. The overall plot is lacking in both development and execution, leaving the reader with deep disappointment and an unsatisfied feeling. I must
Feb 11, 2010 Tripp rated it it was ok
So I was at the library and saw a comic called Ball Peen Hammer. The cover features a black clad gask wearing, pipe wielding chick. That boded well. Sadly, it was not a reflection of the quality of the comic. The book is an incoherent mix of the Talking Head's Life During Wartime, Mad Max, and the paranoid early 70s ravings of Phillip K Dick.

The story is fairly simple. Two dudes are in a shithole and are forced to perform bizarre and evil acts. One dude longs for this chick he met one night. As
Sridhar Reddy
Oct 09, 2009 Sridhar Reddy rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Adam Rapp's BALL PEEN HAMMER is a series of incomplete thoughts, each of them compelling, each of them terrifying. The story is set in an ambiguous, post-apocalyptic, post-industrial metropolis that has been overrun with anarchists, separatists and a giant 'big brother' type of regime simply dubbed 'The Syndicate.' In addition to the remnants of a destructive war, a deadly plague has overrun the region, creating a demand for vaccines that are regulated solely by the Syndicate.

In the forefront a
Apr 12, 2012 Raina rated it liked it
First of all, I have to say this is an amazing package. Great cover, nice size, glossy full-color illustrations, nice-smelling ink. :) Makes me smile just to hold it.

I was SO stoked to get this book, both because of the above factors and because of the authors. I knew Adam Rapp as an amazing edgy YA author. I knew George O'Connor as the author/illustrator of one of my all-time favorite picture book series (Kapow). So the idea of these two known quantities working together on a decidedly ADULT gr
Jesse Grove
Dec 27, 2009 Jesse Grove rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2010 Kelsi rated it it was ok
This book is very interesting, and it requires your full attention or you might miss something. The end is kind of confusing. There are no words towards the back so it leaves you kind of guessing if everyone died or what.

If you didn't know this was Rapp you could probably easily guess. It's very dark and in his style. There's even a bit of dark, end-of-the-world humor in there.

It's an enjoyable, quick book. You can't be all rainbows and butterflies and read this book. It's more of a gloomy read
Nov 12, 2009 aaron rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
this is an amazing dark, bleak look at a post-apocalyptic city where the people seem to live mostly underground. the problem with the book is that it just seems to get started with pulling its thoughts together and then its over. the artwork is beautiful and i think that is where this really shines. i wish the writing was a little bit more clear and succinct, but don't let that detract from the beautiful illustration work by o'connor. overall a pretty good read, but mostly just a beautiful work ...more
Dec 18, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it
I'm discovering Rapp as a playwright and am excited to read more of his work in comics. This was a gutpunch of a book and I really did not know where it was going until it got there. A great cartoonishness to O'Connor's work softens up the grit of the story enough to make it a little more palatable and provide a great juxtaposition to Rapp's darkness. Good stuff and a promising intro to both artists.
Oct 27, 2009 Tyler rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, own
Terribly depressing. The book had some really good things about it - excellent art, cool dark feel with complex characters. However, after finishing it, I'm not sure what the point was. Maybe it's a commentary on something I didn't get, but the story ends in the most depressing and hopeless way I've ever read. Worth a read, but as the back of the book says, "Not for gentle readers."
Nov 21, 2014 Austin rated it really liked it
i thought this was a great book to read. the book is about thease two people and thay are both separated and sick. it is curable but not common.

i gave the book 4 stars because it was a good book and i enjoyed it a lot. if you are in to a book with graphic and bloody and horror i reccomend it to you.
Dec 17, 2009 Dru rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-graphic-novel
this is a pretty brutal story about an infection, the poorest of the poor, lost connections, struggling with the truth and older brothers. the art is very good, each character has a unique look and their personality shines through.
Feb 09, 2010 Jamie rated it really liked it
Disturbing. Maybe a little short on narrative, it's almost too self-contained, but the impact of the book's dark vision of the future sticks around.
Rika Johnson
May 14, 2010 Rika Johnson rated it really liked it
A great read for our darker audience. A post war city full of plague and disease sets the scene. Although shorter than my usual taste, I thought it was well written. The artwork was excellent.
Penny Ramirez
This was very well drawn. Stunning images. Disturbing, a bit.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 14, 2009 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
An incredibly bleak, ugly story but an extraordinary book. The illustrations are stunning!
Franco Olcese
Jan 05, 2017 Franco Olcese rated it liked it
Strange book, post apocaliptic. I like the way the author tell the story, not so much how he finished. It looks like the author just decided to cut it, I had appreaciated a longer edition. Anyway I recommend it, I liked the characters, specially the child.
Robert Beveridge
Adam Rapp, Ball Peen Hammer (First Second, 2009)

My last experience with the work of Adam Rapp (33 Snowfish) was, to say the least, unpleasant. But who could resist that George O'Connor cover? I also hoped that Rapp would, given the smaller size of this, distill his writing somewhat. Unfortunately, he went too far.

Ball Peen Hammer takes place in an unnamed city that first seems to have suffered from war, and now is in the grip of a massive plague, one from which, according to one character, only
Gamma Mouse
May 12, 2011 Gamma Mouse rated it liked it
There aren’t many graphic novels that really get to you, that burrow themselves deep inside your consciousness like a repressed memory, scarring you cerebrally. Not many graphic novels that are unforgettable, completely indelible like the smell of birth, still rattling your brainpan days, even weeks, after having experienced them. Some graphic novels you just can’t forget; they present images you can never un-see.

Ball Peen Hammer is one of these types of indelible and scarring reading experience
Jan 08, 2010 Patch rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys graphic novels or comics.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Si Barron
Mar 24, 2016 Si Barron rated it liked it
Not a happy read. Which could have been good. Unfortunately the author tried too hard to be ‘shocking’. Horlik was the worst offender. We are supposed to buy this feral kid in all his terrible glory. And then we are expected to believe his tenderness towards Exley. Didn’t work for me I’m afraid.

Exley, similarly brutalised by the end times is on a mission to find her one-night-stand lover (who, unknown to her lives 2 floors down). She’s pregnant you see. Given the world has gone to hell in a han
Ismael Galvan
May 19, 2015 Ismael Galvan rated it it was amazing
This was a gritty little gem stuffed in the library shelf. It's surreal depiction of a post-apocalyptic city that has been decimated by deadly virus. But we're given an ultra-close up concerning a handful of characters. The characters are separated in little groups that are loosely connected. Somehow everyone's actions eventually affect the lives of the others. It's that sort of story.

I loved it, despite its flaws, for the grimy atmosphere. Everyone is on the fringes of starvation. They survive
Dÿłāñ īś mÿ øñē❤️⚜❤️
It was....interesting. Great art work though!!!
Alex Telander
Nov 17, 2009 Alex Telander rated it liked it
While the cover and title will certainly be misleading for some readers who look at this graphic novel for the first time, I recommend they read the inside flap for a description. It’s not about S&M and violent sex games, but in fact a world where a sickness has wiped out a considerable amount of the population. In the style of //Children of Men//, people are fighting to survive, fighting for food, and fighting to get a sample of the vaccine that will cure them of the lethal sickness. With a ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Jodi rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010-read
Here’s my advice to you, if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Ball Peen Hammer, slowly back away and then when you are a safe distance run for your life. Don’t let this confusing, dreary, dreck suck you into it’s whirling vortex of confusion like I was. Let my pointless waste of time not be in vain. Please.

Ball Peen Hammer takes place in a post-apocalyptic city where people are dying because of a strange plague. We’re not quite sure how they got the plague, just that it’s killing people.
Ryan Mishap
Jan 24, 2010 Ryan Mishap rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
A post-apocalyptic, brutal downer that was almost right up my alley. After the bombs (that is all we are told about it), the U.S. is a wasteland, controlled by The Syndicate. The rain burns, there isn't enough food, the infrastructure is crumbling, and a deadly virus is killing many.

A dying musician lives in a basement, where a writer looking to join some secret group finds him. Meanwhile, a young woman in a gas mask chases down the kid who stole her fruit and winds up trying to take care of h
Dec 11, 2012 Amaryllis rated it liked it
Like many others have written before, Ball Peen Hammer is dark.. Very, very dark and morbid but that's not not why it's a "so-so" graphic novel. I love dark, depressing, morbid novels as much as the next person but the fact is that the way it was written was kind of off (in my opinion). I felt as if the first half of the pages were ripped out and I was forced to start in the middle. Maybe that was intentional but I was left with more questions than answers, and not enough information to even sta ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cat Burglar Black
  • Nocturnal Conspiracies: Nineteen Dreams From December 1979 to September 1994
  • FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, Vol. 2: Wish You Were Here
  • The Bronx Kill
  • Love and Rockets: New Stories #4
  • Artichoke Tales
  • The Zabime Sisters
  • Mush!: Sled Dogs with Issues
  • Susceptible
  • Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story
  • Penny Century (Locas, #4)
  • Grandville Mon Amour (Grandville #2)
  • Resistance (Resistance, #1)
  • Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling (Delilah Dirk, #2)
  • The Fall of the House of West
  • Concrete, Volume 1: Depths
  • Wasteland, Book 1: Cities in Dust
  • Rust Vol. 3: Death of the Rocket Boy
Adam Rapp says that when he was working on his chilling, compulsively readable young adult novel 33 SNOWFISH, he was haunted by several questions. Among them: "When we have nowhere to go, who do we turn to? Why are we sometimes drawn to those who are deeply troubled? How far do we have to run before we find new possibilities?"

At once harrowing and hypnotic, 33 SNOWFISH--which was nominated as a Be
More about Adam Rapp...

Share This Book