A multitude of Weirds appear from across the multiverse to help the cause as Lucy makes a fate altering decision in the final issue of “Black Hammer Reborn!”Mild Spoilers Ahead!
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Caitlin Yarsky
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
As the heroes from across the multiverse prepare for their final act against the collision of the two Spiral Cities, the ship housing all the various Weirds lands. They
speak in warm greetings and riddles to Doctor Andromeda, Sherlock Frankenstein, and the others, with little clarity on how to stop impending Final Cataclysm and the return of Anti-God.
What started out as a beautifully written homage to Golden Age comic books seven years ago has expanded and unfurled into a many tentacled beast of sci-fi and horror tales, numerous characters, social commentary, those beautiful homages, and multiversal madness. This ever growing experiment has taken off in so many different directions that as Jeff Lemire and co. begin to pare it down and bottle neck it towards eventual end, it would be easy to assume that it has gotten out of hand. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and this final issue of “Black Hammer Reborn” is a sterling example of just how well Lemire has kept his grip on things while giving it all just enough slack to expand and morph as it went on.
While the majority of the action takes place in relatively the same place, this issue is broken into segments of sorts. Because so much information is in play, the script uses these scenes to gently pull the shades down on the windows to past events, letting just enough light in for us to keep some details in the back of our mind as we begin to prepare and adjust for what is just ahead. Lemire does a wonderful job giving answers, closure, and future purpose to the characters that deserve it the most in this moment, most notably Lucy and Skulldigger. It is always difficult to review a Lemire comic, especially one of his creations, because he has a way of conveying so much without the need for hefty dialogue or exposition that it must be experienced for yourself and no description or plot synopsis will do it justice.
It could be said that this issue is the one to end all expectations for how you think this is going to resolve itself, but if there has been one constant throughout all the twists and turns of “Black Hammer” is that you can not have any expectations for how things will turn out. Like most of the series before it, this issue shakes things up from page to page. Reveals, power upgrades, and fate-shattering decisions are shown and with each new change you have to let go of what you thought this whole thing was about. Lemire seems like a writer who knows how things are going to end before he starts them, whether that is apparent in the work itself is up to you, but with the “Black Hammer” universe it feels as though he has allowed this creation to shift and mutate as it best suited the overall story, keeping it close, but never becoming over-protective parent that couldn’t let his baby evolve. Issue 12 is the same way, it has the pace of a chaotic violent speedwalker that knows it is on a short leash. It has so much to do, but it refuses to leave you behind. It is an ingenious and layered, yet concisely told finale to this arc. If you have been following along this whole time, there is no way to get lost now. You are in it with the rest of us.
The artists that have been pulled in by Lemire, starting with Dean Ormston, to create this universe have all worked together in a way where it has all felt cohesive and of a piece. This run by Caitlin Yarsky has truly been something to cheris. As the previous artists did their part in either keeping to a specific tone or generational style based on the story they were telling or era they were referencing, Yarsky is giving us her spin on “Cosmic Odyssey” while remaining true to her own visual style and the parameters of this particular story. I could see her really going of the rails (in the best way) in the final arc. Yarsky’s perfectly executed detailing and unbelievably clean line work makes every single panel POP. She gives your eye no chance to lose its place or to wander away from the action or speech bubbles. It all flows together and as your eye moves across each page you will get the sensation of action and movement throughout as it is expertly staged like animation.
Meeting Yarksy to complete this beautiful challenge is all-star colorist Dave Stewart, whose solid, clean colors are so damn compelling and dynamic, but in any other hands would fall flat. This is yet another example of Stewart’s ability to take something that at surface level will come off as, at the very least, simplistic, but upon any further investigation beyond a glance, its truth and energy leaps from the page and electrifies you.
Final Verdict: 9.0, Another near-perfect entry in this universe, one of the best issues of “Black Hammer Reborn,” and an equally satisfying chapter end and future tease.