Itâ€™s a comic book story idea thatâ€™s as old as comics: have two teams from two different companies and have them meet. Some people still love it, others are sick of how samey these stories are. Comic writer Jeff Lemire and artist Michael Walsh have taken â€œBlack Hammerâ€ and teamed them up with â€œJustice Leagueâ€ to make â€œBlack Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justiceâ€ and the first issue seems like itâ€™s out to break all the rules.
The â€œBlack Hammerâ€ team has found themselves living a boring, peaceful life on a farm and they want out. Meanwhile, the â€œJustice Leagueâ€ is busy battling a bunch of giant starfish in Metropolis. Both of these teamsâ€™ lives get switched by a mysterious man in a suit and bowler hat.
This first issue does an amazing job of coming up with a plot for a crossover: have the teams switch worlds/situations. Seeing Batman and Superman surviving on a farm sounds great. Well. Superman already grew up on a farm so heâ€™s used to it. Billionaire playboy Batman living on a form sounds like there will be tons of hilarity.
The â€œBlack Hammerâ€ crew taking on â€œDCâ€ villains sounds OK, but of course, some care needs to be put into how itâ€™s handled. Lemire needs to tread carefully so as to not anger both â€œDCâ€ and â€œDark Horseâ€ fans.
Walshâ€™s art for the â€œBlack Hammerâ€ characters looks great. No real problems here. The DC characters, on the other hand, look a bit weird in this style. Granted, these characters have been drawn in many styles over the decades, but they come off more as cosplayers from the â€œBlack Hammerâ€ universe dressed as â€œDCâ€ characters. The slit panels on page 14 where we see the stranger talking with both teams at the same time is a great technique.
The first issue of â€œBlack Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justiceâ€ takes an established concept and so far, dares to do something different with it. The art may look weird for the â€œDCâ€ characters, but the rest is great.
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