Black Hammer / Justice League #4 Leaves All Other Crossovers In The Dust

by James Ferguson

The lost heroes of the Justice League and Black Hammer Farm are starting to put the pieces together as to how and why they’ve been stranded in each other’s universes. In the former, they’ve discovered Talky Walky which has led to an eye-opening revelation while the latter tangos with the Spectre. The biggest moment comes with John Stewart, Barry Allen, and Colonel Weird as they come face-to-face with the man who caused all this in the first place.

Let’s tackle that last point first. In hindsight, I should have seen this coming. It crept up on me and I figured it out at the last possible moment. Writer Jeff Lemire has pulled me in so completely with Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice! that I was completely blindsided by the reveal. When it hit, a smile spread across my face. Of course! This is perfect!
The bulk of this issue is spent with the Justice League as they come to grips with the reality of their imprisonment. They have been stranded at Black Hammer Farm for ten years. Imagine feeling like you’re never going to see your loved ones back home or do anything to help the countless people that have come to rely on you as their hero. The truth is a little different, but even more infuriating for these characters.

The Justice League has faced so many crazy enemies and crises over the years, but this is something entirely different. It strikes these heroes right at their core. Artist Michael Walsh perfectly captures this feeling of shock and devastation in a great panel. Clark Kent’s eyes are opened and a wave of emotion flows over him.
This is just a piece of Walsh’s talents in Black Hammer / Justice League #4. I love how he distinguishes each world. The DC Universe shines a little brighter, even in the dead of night, while the Black Hammer Farm has a grim and gritty realism to it. Meanwhile, the cosmic adventure of Green Lantern, Flash, and Colonel Weird is like a trippy fever dream full of crazy color.  Letterer Nate Piekos adds to this with the signature haunting tone of Colonel Weird.

This issue ends with a spectacular cliffhanger that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around a possible outcome. That’s how you know you’re in for a treat. I’m in on this series hook, line, and sinker, completely unaware of what might be coming next. Lemire has been playing with super hero tropes since Black Hammer began and now he’s working the same magic with the crossover event.

Most crossovers like this are fun, but don’t have much of an impact. Black Hammer / Justice League feels like the opposite. These characters are being put through so much that it is bound to affect them for some time. It’s one thing to face a monster or some crazy super villain, but it’s quite another to get hit with such a blunt force trauma to your psyche. This leaves all other crossovers in the dust.
Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #4 from Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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