Illustrated by Dean Ormston, David Rubín, and Max Fiumar
Presented in this oversized, library edition is two stories from the universe of Black Hammer: Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, and Doctor Andromeda and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows.
The first story follows Lucy Weber as she tries to piece together what happened with her dad. Ten years ago, her father, Black Hammer, and many other heroes, disappeared when they were fighting "Anti-God." Most believe the heroes were killed in the explosion, but Doctor Andromeda and Lucy have reason to believe that the heroes were transported somewhere else, and she uses her journalism experience to put together clues. Her trail leads her to needing to find Sherlock Frankenstein, one of the major super-villains of Spiral City.
The second story details how Doctor Andromeda discovered the Para-Zone and was able to harness its energy to give him super power. The U. S. Government was particularly keen on his development as a potential weapon to help in the fight against Hitler. One day, Doctor Andromeda discovers that there is intelligent life out there, and he rushes off to meet it. He makes a huge mistake that costs him his family, and he many years trying to right the wrongs he's committed against his wife and only son.
I have heard of Black Hammer before, and when this "volume one" popped up eligible for review, I assumed it was a newer collection of the first stories. This is not the case. These two stories are side adventures within the universe Lemire has set up over years and many, many volumes. That side, this volume was actually not a bad place to jump into the world of Black Hammer. I didn't feel like there was a whole back story I was missing, and Lemire provided enough background information throughout the two stories that I was able to get lost in these stories. Sherlock Frankenstein's story was interesting, but Doctor Andromeda stole the show for me. This story was narrated like a letter from Doctor Andromeda to his son. I don't always appreciate tons of narration as a way to tell the story, but this was done exceptionally well. The pace of this story was near-perfect, and the ending was enough to even get my cold heart to feel something.
I really enjoyed the rougher illustrations of Doctor Andromeda, provided by Max Fiumar. The jagged edges fit well with the edgier narration. The colors were also very fitting. Doctor Andromeda's reality is full of dull, drab tones, but his visit to the alien planet was lively and colorful. These color palettes mirror the Doctor's feelings about his settings - that Earth is wearisome and not as exciting as outer space.
Dark Horse rates this series as 14+. In Sherlock Frankenstein, there is a moment of partial nudity, but otherwise, nothing that would make this an inappropriate title for teens.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Superheroes, Grief, Mystery
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