Black Hammer Reborn #1: Jeff Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky
Overall I've been a huge fan of Lemire's Black Hammer universe. There have been some stories that didn't really land, but overall the quality has been high. I was glad to see Lemire returning to the main story...and I was not disappointed. Lemire is about as good as it gets at world-building. And what we get here is a focus on Lucy Weber twenty years after she returned the heroes to the world and took up the Black Hammer. But now she's a mother and not active as a super-hero. This is all about character and exploration of a hero that was and it's just darn excellent.
Yeah, this was truly excellent! It had a great mix of slice of life, mystery and action that just makes it a pain when you make it to the end.
I'll add (which I should have above) that the art was really good, particularly at conveying the mundane life portions. I'm not familiar with the artist but she did a nice job.
With X-Factor ending, I picked up this series as a replacement (I also got the first two issues, but I won't clog up the board with reviewing those) Way of X #3 Written by Si Spurrier Art by Bob Quinn and Java Tartaglia
What Happened Before: Mutants have united and live nearly all on the island of Krakoa. Through a combined use of mutant powers, death has become an obsolete concept for mutants. Faced with a new world where death has no longer any meaning, Nightcrawler is trying to find a new philosophy for mutants to live by.
Plot: Nightcrawler visits the Hellfire Gala, gets very drunk and makes a fool of himself. The next morning, Kurt sees a hooded figure distributing what he thinks is drugs among the young mutants, but when confronting the figure, it turns out to be an old acquaintance and she has some very good points to make. Meanwhile Legion is hunting for Onslaught, but is willing to help two young mutants find intimacy when their powers turn out to be a problem.
The Good: I think Nightcrawler has always been my favourite X-Man. He's making a lot of mistakes in this series and is very unsure and conflicted about things around him, but that only makes him more endearing to me. It's not bad to doubt yourself and to question things. I also really liked Stacy X as created by Joe Casey, but disliked most of her appearances since then as Austen never got what the character was about. Spurrier gives her a role here and it fits her perfectly; she points out to Nightcrawler that his proposed rule of "Make more mutants" only is useful as their are people around to take care of those mutants. I hope she sticks around because she and Kurt play well of each other. I also never cared for Onslaught; he never was a character, just a plot device. But he has potential to become something here (the new design probably helps). He's still hasn't shown any personality yet, but he's a parasite here, acting from the shadows and trying to stay hidden, while he was just some boring super-powerful entity in the 90s. Legion remains unpredictable, which is a positive here and Spurrier's Legion has always been the best written one (excluding maybe the TV-version, but that's a completely different story). (Also I saw a small scene in a panel that got me very intrigued, but apparently that is an important scene in S.W.O.R.D. #6, so I won't talk about it here and wait till I get S.W.O.R.D. in trade)
The Bad: Honestly, I don't have anything bad to say about this issue. Lots of things happening, a lot of characters that Spurrier expects you to know, but the writing gives a good indication of who everybody is and what they are about.
9/10: Likeable characters, even if they are flawed and as a concept Nightcrawler trying to make sense of Krakoan life, trying to formulate a "Way of X" is one of the best concepts for an X-men series I've read.