The Golden Age of Spiral City ended when its heroes disappeared. Now those heroes are trapped in a rural farm town – except for Black Hammer, who made an escape attempt and hasn’t been seen since. Abraham Slam and Barbalien are trying to blend in with the townsfolk, but Golden Gail won’t accept their new reality. Madame Dragonfly and Col. Weird are each descending deeper into their own strange worlds. Only Talky-Walky is intent on escaping the farm, as he tries again and again to contact the outside world.
This issue continues to focus on a member of the team and fleshes them out a bit. It’s a winning formula – so far, anyway – so we understand why Jeff Lemire’s carrying it on. This issue follows Abraham Slam – a character who worked really hard to get to where he is. He could’ve felt like Marvel’s Captain America, but he’s written and changed enough to feel like his own entity.
After learning the reason Slam does what he does, he’s grown on us. It’s not that we didn’t like him before this issue, but he was a bit wooden previously. Yet again, these unrealistic characters are doused in realism in a way we can’t put our finger on. The emotional and down-to-earth sensibilities must be contributing factors, at least.
The artwork feels like a send-back to old fashioned comics, while making it feel fresh. The best bit of the art is the expressions seen (and ultimately, felt) through the characters themselves. Pair amazing writing with expressive art and you’ve got the recipe for greatness. Each character is beautifully messed up in their own way, and there’s the dysfunctional family we never knew we wanted.
Black Hammer #4 made us realise that these characters are the dysfunctional family we never knew we wanted.
- Abraham Slam