Well, it’s Monday, which means we take a break from looking at DC Rebirth-branded books. Today, we have one book from DC’s new Hanna-Barbera line and one book from Dark Horse. Check out Scooby Apocalypse 4 and Black Hammer 2!
Black Hammer 2
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dean Ormston
Over the last few years, I’ve become a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s work, reading a lot of his DC Comics New 52 stuff, so when I saw his name attached to this book over at Dark Horse, it was an easy choice to decide to pick it up. Two issues in, I don’t regret the decision at all.
Black Hammer tells the tale of a group of Golden Age heroes who have been imprisoned in a small town where they no longer have their powers and they’re forced to live together on a farm. They can’t leave the town, as the one hero who tried – Black Hammer – they believe to be dead. The heroes have been on the farm for a while now, so while some in the group are still trying to find a way to escape, others have learned to accept their fate and move on with their lives.
Some can’t do that, though. And Lemire takes a look at that in the second issue of the book. We get a character spotlight here, as Lemire focuses on Golden Gail, a SHAZAM analogue who was stuck in the body of a nine-year-old when the heroes were trapped. We see her origin, and Gail takes us through her life as a hero as she has her first day of the school year in fourth grade.
Lemire does a great job expressing Gail’s frustrations with being a grown woman stuck in the body of a nine-year-old, unable to do the things adults do without having judgment brought down on her or her “grandfather,” the hero Abraham Slam. Dean Ormston’s art is also greatly expressive in helping to tell Gail’s story.
We also get some hints at the end of what may be happening to the heroes and what their situation actually is, but that’s probably a story for another time.
Scooby Apocalypse 4
Written by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen
Art by Howard Porter
Of the four new books in the new Hanna-Barbera line, Scooby Apocalypse is the one that revamped the characters the most, completely modernizing the whole gang and taking the concept of a group of friends traveling around the country solving mysteries on its ear. Under the wonderful pens of DeMatteis and Giffen, they’re a band of survivors traversing a post-apocalyptic country trying to avoid monsters after a group of scientists released a nanite plague.
To catch up, Daphne and Fred are reporters, Velma was a scientist who worked with the ones who unleashed the plague but doesn’t believe them responsible and Shaggy was a “Dog Whisperer” who trained cybernetically-enhanced attack dogs who could talk. Yes, Scooby Doo was one of them, although he was the least effective, but Shaggy’s favorite. So now, these five folks are going around in their found Mystery Machine to try and figure out what’s happening.
I thought I was going to HATE this book. But then, I remembered how much I love Giffen and DeMatteis and their subversive take in whatever book they write. After spending the first two issues exploring the compound that kept the Scooby gang safe, we are now in drive around the country mode, except instead of weird, creepy old guys wearing monster masks to drive folks out of town, we have people turned into actual monsters. Velma wants to know why, Daphne thinks she’s part of it and Fred, Shaggy and Scooby, really, are along for the ride.
With any other writer, this concept could get old fast, but Giffen and DeMatteis have rarely let me down when it comes to character-driven stories, so I’m on board the Mystery Machine for whatever they want to do next.