Black Hammer ‘45 #1 Review

by Olivier Roth on March 06, 2019

Story: Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes

Writer: Ray Fawkes

Artist: Matt Kindt

Colorist: Sharlene Kindt

Letterer: Marie Enger

Published by: Dark Horse Comics


I will freely admit that this issue was my first introduction to the Black Hammer universe that Jeff Lemire has been building over the past few years over at Dark Horse comics. Having said, that, this issue lends itself really well to first time readers because even without any prior knowledge of the universe, I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the issue and was not lost at any point.


The story follows a nonagenarian ex-fighter pilot of the Black Hammer squad in World War II. The story is told through a series of flashbacks as he gets ready to meet an old compatriot of that time on a vaguely mentioned anniversary of some kind. What the significance of that date is is not elaborated upon in this issue, but will surely be divulged in subsequent issues.


In the flashback sequences, Fawkes and Lemire concentrate on telling us who these fighter pilots are, how they were significant to the war effort and how they were distinctive from others, and overall give us a sense of who each of them are - they are comrades, they are good at what they do, but there has also been tragedy. And that tragedy has a name in the form of an enemy fighter pilot the Ghost Hunter (whom I imagine will be the antagonist throughout this storyline).


Splitting the issue between the present and the past is always a clever way to advance any story because you know whatever happened back then will have an impact on the present storyline. Having the two time periods be so different makes for an interesting read as you try and figure out what these old veterans are all about in the present and how exactly did events unfold in the past.


On art are Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt and they do a marvelous job throughout the issue. Matt Kindt is an artist that is very much entranced in an “indie” style, but even so, his style is what makes this issue stand-out. It’s a style that is definitely “rougher” throughout, but it only adds a uniqueness to the story being told and makes for some compelling visual storytelling.

Our Score:


A Look Inside