Black Hammer ‘45 #1 // Review
February 6, 2018, by Rick Lopez
Jeff Lemire hands the reins of his brainchild over to writer Ray Fawkes for this brand-new mini-series. Taking place during World War II, reminiscent of the Black Hawks from DC comics, while still very much rooted in Lemire’s universe of comic book pastiches. This series adds yet another layer towards the ever-growing world, with ties to the main title in the present, this mini sets out to explore the past.
Beginning in the present time, a man late in life reminisces on his days as a fighter pilot in the war when he is struck with a memory of the past he had long since forgotten. As he seeks out the rest of his unit, these flashbacks begin to take hold. As the story unfolds between three narratives, each a different view in the war, leading to something more grand and cosmic than initially expected.
The stylized pencil work of Matt Kindt lends itself exceptionally well for the aesthetic of the series. Although beginning in the present, Kindt’s art accentuates the tension and high stakes within the flashbacks of the war. At times the main characters can seem to blend into one another, colorist Sharlene Kindt stands as the driving force to distinguish between them all. The colorwork of Kindt brings the vintage vibe to this series in full effect. Utilizing the newspaper print look for the pages seals the deal for this pastiche of the past as pages the age from time.
Lemire sets the stage for Ray Fawkes to make this mini-series entirely his own. Adding a new voice to the universe proves to be lucrative overall. Although primarily a prequel, Fawkes’ storytelling sensibilities allow for the tensions and sheer sense of the unknown to be felt entirely and earned. Solicited merely as an old-time war pastiche, the layers in the first issue deliver the familiar intrigue known to the Black Hammer title while still leaving the reader awestruck by the final page reveal.
Fawkes and Kindt prove to handle this series with the love and care Lemire deserves while still leaving their own mark on the title. Although World War II pastiche is new grounds for Black Hammer, it fits perfectly with the overall pre-established universe. With a jaw-dropping ending to show that this is more than just another war comic, this is series begins to be something truly magical.