It’s a comic book story idea that’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 “Black Hammer” and teamed them up with “Justice League” to make “Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice” and the first issue seems like it’s out to break all the rules.
The “Black Hammer” team has found themselves living a boring, peaceful life on a farm and they want out. Meanwhile, the “Justice League” is busy battling a bunch of giant starfish in Metropolis. Both of these teams’ 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 he’s used to it. Billionaire playboy Batman living on a form sounds like there will be tons of hilarity.
The “Black Hammer” crew taking on “DC” villains sounds OK, but of course, some care needs to be put into how it’s handled. Lemire needs to tread carefully so as to not anger both “DC” and “Dark Horse” fans.
Walsh’s art for the “Black Hammer” 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 “Black Hammer” universe dressed as “DC” 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 “Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice” takes an established concept and so far, dares to do something different with it. The art may look weird for the “DC” characters, but the rest is great.