In an issue where we explore Black Hammer's least talked about character through its first two issues, Jeff Lemire brings another deeply sympathetic character into the forefront.
The story follows a group of Golden Age heroes trapped in a rural farming community, on an unfamiliar universe. It's been 10 years since they saved their world and were sent to this farm on Earth.
The third issue of Black Hammer dives into Barbalien's past life and the constant struggles in his attempt to fit in with society -- no matter which planet we're talking about. He is painted as this optimistic, skittish character from Mars who just wants to fit in but can't get a handle on civilization.
Even though he approaches each situation with a hopeful mentality, Barbalien seemingly winds up suffering a disastrous or embarrassing defeat each time out. Lemire moves the story along in masterful fashion as this feels like as complete of a comic book issue I have read in some time.
The flashbacks are worthwhile, his falling out with his police partner of six years is heartbreaking and his blindness following a talk with Gail on the farmhouse's roof is painful.
Meanwhile, Dean Ormston absolutely brings it on the artistic side of things. The opening church scene drips with awkward undertones through its dark undertones and subtle facial expressions.
He shows-off his ability to do it all as we have brief dips into extreme violence, shifts into world-shattering awkward moments and just the basic following of Barbalien's life "hiding in plain sight."
Rating: 9.5/10 An absolutely fascinating dive into Barbalien, who before this issue was Black Hammer's least focused-on characters. We see so many different sides as we follow a character stuck "hiding in plain sight."