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Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins
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BotM Discussions > May BotM Discussion - Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins

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Kate (kgskocelas) | 581 comments Mod
What did you think of Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins? How did it compare to other super hero books you've read? If you've read other work by Jeff Lemire, how did you think this compared? Do you think you'll continue reading the series?

Reminder: This discussion thread is FULL SPOILERS for Volume 1! If you have read farther in the series, please be careful not to share spoilers for anything that happens after Volume 1.


Chad | 828 comments Here's my review

I loved how Lemire payed homage to specific golden age characters, but with a twist. Glorious Gail was my favorite, being the reverse of Captain Marvel.


Kate (kgskocelas) | 581 comments Mod
Chad wrote: "I loved how Lemire payed homage to specific golden age characters, but with a twist. Glorious Gail was my favorite, being the reverse of Captain Marvel."

I really liked your review. It's a great summary of what this comic is all about.

Golden Gail is my favorite character as well. Her predicament being trapped in a child's body is so interesting and really well captured by Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart's art.

I was partway through doing a reread of this book when it won BotM, so that worked out nicely. What has struck me the most the second time through is Lemire's mastery of character dialogue. The characters all have a unique voice, and their conversations feel real. That certainly isn't always the case for superhero team books, at least in my experience.

I haven't read any golden age comics, so I probably missed a lot of those references. What book do you think it referenced/alluded to the most?


Chad | 828 comments Kate wrote: "I haven't read any golden age comics, so I probably missed a lot of those references. What book do you think it referenced/alluded to the most? ."

Abraham Slam = Captain America
Golden Gail = Captain Marvel
Barbalien = Martian Manhunter
Madame Dragonfly = Swamp Thing / House of Mystery
Captain Weird = Adam Strange / Mystery in Space

I loved that the two hunters in the Madame Dragonfly issue were named Len and Bernie, the creators of Swamp Thing. House of Mystery was a horror anthology DC put out a few different times over the years Madame Dragonfly draws heavily from it. Mystery in Space was kind of the same thing set in space. Obviously, there's also a homage to Crisis.

The really incredible thing about this book is that Dean Ormstrom had a stroke in the middle of drawing it and was still able to return full time to the series.


message 5: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel | 265 comments This book made me very sad, I immediately felt bad for all the characters. That’s is such an accomplishment on the creative team’s part. I barely know these new characters, but I can definitely feel for them
It is definitely whacky twilight zone cookiness but that is very interesting when down correctly
Looking forward to Vol 2


kaitlphere | 236 comments Mod
Chad wrote: "The really incredible thing about this book is that Dean Ormstrom had a stroke in the middle of drawing it and was still able to return full time to the series."

I read this in the afterward! That's crazy and incredibly admirable--I didn't notice any kind of major art shift in the book anywhere.

I knew that the characters were "based" on other existing comic book characters, but I couldn't place them all. Thanks for breaking it down!

I loved Captain Weird's and Madame Dragonfly's stories the most, maybe because I'm least familiar with the characters they are based on. They both have this heavy baggage that hovers around them that they have no control over, but they both managed to get a handle on that when the "family" needed them the most.

I want to know more about THE Black Hammer, and I think that's where volume two is going to go. But I also have enjoyed the "family" dynamics and daily struggles, and I want to see them continue to grow and solve daily problems together. I hope volume two doesn't lose that.

I had to make a special request through my library to get volume two. I'm sad it's not on Hoopla yet!


message 7: by Paul (last edited May 17, 2018 05:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul (ohhipaulie) | 38 comments I read the first issue of this when it came out and thought it was okay, but it didn't grab me enough to pick up the second. That said, I am glad this is the book of the month because I ended up really enjoying it. I haven't read a ton of Jeff Lemire's stuff: I loved his Essex County trilogy, but most of his DC work didn't do much for me. Luckily, Black Hammer is closer in tone and pacing to Essex County than Animal Man.

I will say that superhero homages are usually a pet peeve of mine: I can see the parallels to the original characters too clearly and that sometimes takes me out of the story. But I think this worked for me once Lemire made Slam kind of a dick instead of the obvious Captain America good guy. That along with the relationship between Gail and Barbalien added some wrinkles to the superteam formula. There were also some very "Twin Peaks" vibes to the whole small town setting, which I dug.

Ormstrom's art was a nice surprise too, especially on the Colonel Weird origin story: kind of a creepy take on Kirby Cosmic art.

Looking forward to starting volume 2!


Robert | 46 comments I wasn't feeling it with volume one. Just felt like a slow moving "fake" superhero story. Since I had already read Vol 1 before it was nominated for BOTM, I picked up Vol 2. It was better.


message 9: by Mike, Host & Producer of IRCB! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Rapin (mikerapin) | 641 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "I wasn't feeling it with volume one. Just felt like a slow moving "fake" superhero story. Since I had already read Vol 1 before it was nominated for BOTM, I picked up Vol 2. It was better."

Glad to hear you kept with it! I also recommend the side story: Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, Vol. 1


Francis | 134 comments This was a cool book, really enjoyed it and want to read more.

There are obvious comparisons to be drawn to Frank Miller's Watchmen, but I appreciated the lighter tone, this felt more of a tribute to the bright colourful origins of superhero comic books, rather than the nihilism of Watchmen. The illustrations aided this and the colouring by Dave Stewart particularly worked for me.

I thought the writing dealt well with showing the struggles within a family which is cobbled together and in a location through necessity rather than choice. It showed how they deal with being different from those around them whilst attempting to fit in as best as possible. I like that it taps into the Immigrant Story inherent in many of the early comic book creators own writing.

This volume was a great introduction to the world of Black Hammer, I'm intrigued to discover what motivated the heroes to leave their world and go into hiding in what appears to be a parallel universe, and to find out more about Black Hammer and the role his daughter will play in later story arcs.

Ok to air.


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