Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral

black hammer streets of spiral trade paperback tpb
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Fun addendum

Largely supplemental material that isn't necessary for readers

Comic Info

Comic Name: Black Hammer/Black Hammer:  Cthu-Louise/The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia/Stranger Things/Black Hammer Free Comic Book Day 2019

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Writer: Jeff Lemire/Tate Brombal

Artist:  Nate Powell/Matt Kindt/Dustin Nguyen/Ray Fawkes/Emi Lenox/Michael Allred/Dave Stewart/Dave Rubin/Wilfredo Torres/Tyler Crook/Christian Ward/Tonci Zonjic/Lucy Sullivan/Marie Enger/Rich Tommaso/Sandy Jarrell/Sina Grace

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2019

black hammer cthu louise #1 cover variant jill thompson

Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 Variant

Reprints Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual #1, Black Hammer:  Cthu-Louise #1, The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia #1, and Stranger Things/Black Hammer Free Comic Book Day 2019 #1 (January 2017-July 2019).  Trapped on the Farm, Weird finds himself tripping the light fantastic in pursuit of a creature that is jumping through Spiral City on a dangerous path.  Cthu-Louise is bullied and abused at school, but she discovers something beneath the surface could hold the key to her freedom.  Madame Dragonfly takes you on a tour of the Cabin of Horrors.

Written by Jeff Lemire and Tate Brombal, Black Hammer:  Streets of Spiral is a Dark Horse Comic superhero comic book collection.  A spin-off of Black Hammer series, the collection features art by Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Dustin Nguyen, Ray Fawkes, Emi Lenox, Michael Allred, Dave Stewart, Dave Rubin, Wilfredo Torres, Tyler Crook, Christian Ward, Tonci Zonjic, Lucy Sullivan, Marie Enger, Rich Tommaso, Sandy Jarrell, and Sina Grace.  It collects the one-shots Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual #1 (January 2017), Black Hammer:  Cthu-Louise #1 (December 2018), Stranger Things/Black Hammer Free Comic Book Day 2019 #1 (May 2019), and The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia #1 (July 2019).  Issues in this collection were also included in Black Hammer Library Collection—Volume 1.

Black Hammer is a fun series and every dip into the world of Black Hammer opens more and more of the cleverly crafted homage to classic comic books.  In this collection you get expansion on some of the characters (and some time jumping) while also getting a supplemental that was often the only way you could get information about characters in the pre-internet days.  While not entirely satisfying, Black Hammer:  Streets of Spiral is fun for Black Hammer fans.

This collection is really an addendum to other Black Hammer collections.  There isn’t really anything you “need” to read in it as much as it is expansions on stories that already exist.  The mean of the collection is the annual which is good for expanding the “world” of Black Hammer and getting to see how the heroes of the farm lived before the battle with Anti-God.  It is also a Weird story which allows his character to be expanded while looking at the cast.

world of black hammer encyclopedia #1 cover review character guide

The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia #1

The Black Hammer:  Cthu-Louise is a fun little story but almost feels more like an Astro City story in its telling.  Louise’s world is kind of crappy, and she never chose this direction for herself.  The issue explores a villain in a world where the heroes and villains are not the focus of Black Hammer.  It is nice to present one rounded character in that it implies that all the characters of Black Hammer are rounded.

The best example of the throwback nature of Black Hammer is The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia.  It is modeled off of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and DC Comic’s Who’s Who.  These titles were essential in the ’80s for the pre-internet readers to fill in gaps of characters (since you could just look up a character’s bio) and they also gave the key information of when a character first appeared.  Here, it is a spoof since that information is readily available to readers at the swift keys of a computer or phone and it is done with all seriousness which much of Black Hammer is.

Black Hammer:  Streets of Spiral isn’t necessary if you are a Black Hammer reader, but it is necessary if you are a Black Hammer fan (or a completionist).  The collection is a quick read and the stories aren’t overly developed, but they are enriching which isn’t always the case today.  It gives depth to the characters and rounds them even if the story is are almost a goof on real comics.  Check out Black Hammer and visit Spiral City.

Related Links:

Black Hammer 1:  Secret Origins

Black Hammer 2:  The Event

Black Hammer 3:  Age of Doom—Part 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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