Black Hammer / Justice League #5 Delivers An Incredible Finale

by James Ferguson

The truth stands revealed and a fatal choice must be made in order to save everyone. The heroes of Black Hammer Farm are stranded in the DC Universe and Golden Gail has been able to call down the lightning once more, changing back into her adult self…but not without a cost. In order to maintain this, she must stay in this dimension and that means stranding the Justice League back at the farm forever. After finally escaping that nightmare and regaining her true self, can she really go back?

Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #5 presents this amazing hero’s dilemma. Is it OK for Gail to be a little selfish here after everything she’s been through? Who would blame her for wanting to revel in this renewed adulthood? Staying here could destroy not only this world, but their own (or whatever passes for their world).
As a quick aside, I absolutely love how letterer Nate Piekos illustrates Gail’s magic world. It’s packed with all the energy and intensity it holds in a single, bold balloon. Even when she says it and it doesn’t work, you understand the power within.

Writer Jeff Lemire takes us on this crazy journey, going from nailbiting suspense to all out action. It’s riveting to go through as we wonder just what these characters will do. You kind of have an idea because this is a crossover and things have to more or less return to where they were at the start of the series, so you know what the outcome will be, just now how they’ll get there. That statement isn’t entirely accurate too as there’s an interesting twist at the end of this issue that definitely teases a follow up adventure of some kind.
This issue also finally puts all the main characters together in one place. This was an interesting crossover as the Justice League and the Black Hammer heroes didn’t actually interact until the final chapter. Yes, Abraham Slam, Barbalien, and the others spent some time with Hawkgirl, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter, but it wasn’t the core team. The same can be said for the Justice League as they encountered Talky Walky, but not the others.

Artist Michael Walsh brings this to life in an exhilarating fashion. It’s awesome to see Golden Gail and Wonder Woman fighting side by side. The same is true for Abraham Slam and Batman. While Walsh delivers some fantastic pencils, the colors are what really stand out for Black Hammer / Justice League. Each scene / world has its own unique palette with the DC Universe shining a little brighter while the Black Hammer universe appears dismal and depressing.
Walsh controls the tone of the story based on the colors. When things are darkest for our heroes, the sky is a dreary green, but this changes to warmer reds and yellows when the battle ends. The sun is literally rising on the next chapter for these characters.

Cross-company comic book crossovers tend to be a little on the lighter side, delivering a fun adventure and a few gags from quirky interactions. Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice! sets itself apart from the rest, showcasing an amazing character study that digs deep into these heroes, both new and old. The events here are impactful and have the potential to affect those on both sides for some time.
Black Hammer / Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #5 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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