J.C.'s Reviews > Ball Peen Hammer

Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp
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's review
Sep 22, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: graphic-novels, 2009-reads, arc

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 admit, there were a couple of scenes that piqued my interest, only to be led astray by zero development of those enlightening moments. These lost moments would have further developed not only the locale and the disgusting setting of plague infested streets, but also the societal and humanistic nature of the people in their current predicament (not to mention how little is told about the background and how the world ended up the way it did, outside of a couple lazily placed ambiguous references). One could only hope that this is only the introduction to a larger story arc that will conclude after several volumes, but no such thing is even alluded to in the book.

In some graphic novels the plot can be lacking as long as the visual story is excellent. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the visual story was not enough to make up for the underdeveloped plot. I do recognize that there are a lot of people out there that will find the visual representations unique and well done; but, the graphics are not my style. The illustrations are quite gritty and dark (which was the intention being that the story is in a post-apocalyptic world); but unfortunately they also seem unrefined and convey an almost pre-publication storyboard finesse; like the final draft before the actual illustrating occurs. Again, I recognize that this is a matter of taste and cannot fault the author and story for not falling into my graphic representation preference.

I love dark and gritty graphic novels as much as anyone, and within that context, Ball Peen Hammer is staggeringly disappointing. If you are looking for dark and gritty graphic novels you should turn to Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, The Long Halloween, and Sin City collection.

The most fundamental problem with Ball Peen Hammer is the fact that there is nothing that really grabs the reader and engages him or her with the story. As a reader, I had no vested interest in anything that occurred, and I was unsympathetic toward the plight of the main characters because the author did nothing to engage me with the characters. Overall, even though it only took me around thirty minutes to read this from cover to cover (it clocks in at 134 pages) I would not recommend Ball Peen Hammer to anyone unless you really like the illustrations in this review; and only then if you like the illustrations enough to override any lack of story and plot/character development.

Good reading,

Plants and Books
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