Black Hammer Visions #8 Advance Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Studios

Price: $3.99


Written By: Scott Snyder
Pencils, Colors, & Letters By: David Rubín
Flats By: Xulia Pisón
Cover By: David Rubín

The long-awaited final issue of Black Hammer Visions arrives…and the folks at Dark Horse did not hold back! I’ve been awaiting this issue since the creative teams for this mini-series were first announced, as I was very intrigued by the idea of this particular writer playing in a different universe. So far, Black Hammer Visions has hosted an excellent panel of writers and artists and certainly showcased both the versatility of all these creators in their ability to effortlessly tell great stories in the Hammerverse, while also complementing how open the Hammerverse is to new voices. But I’ve been burying the lede for far too long…it’s the long-awaited issue from legendary writer and teacher Scott Snyder with artwork, colors, and letters from Jack Kirby enthusiast, and all-around wizard, David Rubín. I am a huge fan of both creators, so I’ve been very anxious to see the goods these two masters would deliver!

The issue, which I will not spoil in detail, is much like the Fast and the Furious movies, as it is all about family. It encompasses a dual narrative surrounding the origin of the Horseless Rider during the 1880s and his son, Buck, now living in a rest home in the mid-1950s. The juxtaposition between the hot, acrid desert of the rest home and the moody, mystical world of the 1880s was an excellent choice in pacing from Snyder and Rubín and helps the story remain engaging while hooking you with its emotional core. But how does it do that?

The issue offers a throughline in the form of a letter from the Horseless Rider (prior to his transformation into the Horseless Rider) to his son Buck, lamenting the fact that he has been a poor man. He is a thief who has done his best to survive but has often fallen short of the man he should have been. In regards to the tone of the story, it fits perfectly in Snyder’s wheelhouse, detailing a touching, emotional, family-driven narrative in line with Wytches, A.D. After Death, and even Black Mirror. Snyder tells an effective story, hooking you from the beginning, holding you on tight, and never letting go until the very end. I absolutely adore the poignant end of the book of “A Black Hammer’s Tale” which is complemented in tone by the lonely yet beautiful shot of Buck in his wheelchair staring at the letter from his father, the Rider, while the Rider’s ghost lingers unseen in the background, his hand on Buck’s shoulder. A desperate desire to connect that will never come to pass. (Can you just feel the tears just gushing from your eyes now?!) As no surprise to anyone, David Rubín’s electric art lights up each page, with bold and dynamic double-page spreads and expressive lighting illuminating the eye-popping action and emotion. It is particularly noticeable in a two-page fold involving the Horseless Rider falling off a cliff into a pool of water. Rubin does this sequence excellently, and I am always blown away by his ability to create these wonderfully expressive double-page folds. (For those curious, Rubín’s work on books like Ether, Sherlock Frankenstein, and Beowulf highlight this trait incredibly. And considering how well Snyder and Rubín work together….I would love to see them come together again on another project, considering Snyder’s recent deal with Comixology.)

If I haven’t made it clear, this issue was fantastic from beginning to end, and a great way to finish this anthology series. I highly recommend picking up this issue when it releases on Sep. 22! Though I must admit I am sad to see this series go, as each issue has been the highlight of my month for nearly a year. Additionally, there are a number of creators I would love to see invest their time in the world of Black Hammer, and I hope that Lemire, Ormston, and the whole Hammerverse crew think about possibly bringing this series back for more tales in the Hammerverse. But for now…let’s celebrate this issue and its accomplishments, and see what else the marvelous world of Black Hammer has in store!

FINAL SCORE: 8.75/10

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