Let me get this out of the way: I really like this series so far. Lemire’s writing is always a step above, and my god, Tyler Crook is just an incredible artist/colorist/letterer. There is nothing bad about this book. In fact, there were some images that made me say, “Oh, wow!” out loud.
Here’s what I’m split on, and it’s more a pop culture thing than anything directed specifically at this book. The Unteens are a spin on the X-Men. We get spins on the X-Men… a lot. In the world of Black Hammer, it makes sense, being that it’s all a spin on the traditional hero myths. The original Black Hammer series was very much directed towards the DC superhero tropes. There have been many meditations on DC mythologies, like Watchmen, for instance. Regardless, Black Hammer felt fresh, like it had more to say on the subject, and, ultimately, it did. It broke these stories down to their essence in the most absurd ways and gave me new insights into superheroes.
I can’t help but feel like the X-Men well has been bled dry over the years: troubled, super-powered teens with a patriarch at their center. This trope has been dismantled and put back together, even within the X-Men comics, for years, especially when Marvel has always been more about giving us a sense of the heroes as humans and not as gods. DC is about gods amidst humans. So, seeing echoes of the X-Men here, living out human lives, it’s not striking me as profoundly as quickly.
That being said, this book is about a mystery, so not all of the cards have been revealed, and the way in which cards are being revealed has been incredibly, dramatically appealing.
So, let me be clear: This is an excellent book on all levels, and because of that and the massive talents of the creative team, I’m perfectly okay being patient until all of the thematic pieces fall into place.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (script). Art, Colors, Letters (Tyler Crook), Daniel Chabon (editor). Chuck Howitt, Konner Knudsen (assistant editor), Ethan Kimberling (design), Josie Christensen (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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