A few bits and pieces I’ve picked up in sales recently:
A beautiful looking book, but one that hasn’t really hooked me with its first couple of issues. The concept is decent enough, and the sci-fi gladiatorial combat allows for some cool designs and action sequences, but I don’t have much of a handle on the characters and the overall story just doesn’t seem that interesting.
After quite enjoying the two lead-in issues - The Forge and The Casting - the main event felt like a bit of a letdown for me. Especially as it suffers from the malady that afflicts so many crossover books, in that huge chunks of the story are missing if you don’t read the tie-in issues. As such, issues #1, 2 and 3 simply don’t follow on from one another, with the cliffhangers of #1 and #2 more or less ignored by the following issue, which picks up some way further on in the story and assumes a lot of knowledge that you simply don’t have if you’re reading this outside the context of the rest of the event.
Aside from that complaint, the art is nice but the story was a bit of a mess for me - it felt like a bit of a hodgepodge of other (better) crazy cosmic DC stories without much of an identity of its own.
Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #1-4
This is more like it. This mini that spins off from Black Hammer is great fun, setting out an entire history of Jeff Lemire’s superhero universe via the story of Black Hammer’s daughter trying to find out what really happened to her father. There are some great character ideas here, from the silly riffs on punning names (Cthu-Lou is a favourite) to more fully realised personalities like the title character, who gets a surprisingly compelling backstory set out over the course of the series.
Some of the allusions to the real-life history of pulp heroes and superheroes are a bit blunt and on-the-nose, but in general this is a fun read that’s packed with inventive and amusing details.
I hope the main Black Hammer series comes back soon (after picking up volume two I’m now fully up-to-date with that - which is still great) but in the meantime stuff like this fills the gap nicely.