Stop, Hammer Time.

JackHammer_cover[1]Jack Hammer is the latest in a slew of excellent comics coming from the team at Action Lab.  Like the other titles from Action Lab, Jack Hammer boasts an impressive combination of art and story telling.  Unlike the other titles, Jack Hammer takes on a genre that the team has not explored yet to my knowledge:  Noir.

Noir is one of my all time favorite genres and as  I mentioned above, Action Lab has a great track record so I was excited to jump right in. Jack Hammer does a lot of things to live up my high expectations and rarely falters.

After a drunken couple stumble upon the body of Eddie Newman the police are called into investigate.  Before then can even begin combing the crime scene for details P.I. Jack McGriskin arrives on the scene.  Lead Detective Martin tries to tell him to beat it, but when Jack refuses the detective refers to McGriskin by his real name, Jack Hammer.  To which he of course replies “Jack Hammer was along time ago,” like any great noir hero would.

Jack Hammer is the perfect character for this type of story. You feel like you know him from the moment he drops that line. He screams noir, from his dialogue to the way he is portrayed in each frame.  Right from the get go without knowing any details or back story, you can tell he is a badass.  You know his past haunts him, but why? All we know is it must have been bad if he is still a badass but wants to forget whatever came before.

The comic is dialogue heavy but does a really good job of establishing the supporting characters and developing the story.  All this while dropping hints about Jack’s past and why he is no longer “Jack Hammer”.  The murder mystery, a clouded past, and some great shady bar scenes all tie in to the noir theme and make the comic a fun and interesting read.

The art is awesome, from the pencils to the colors.  Jack looks like the rugged half in the bag cop that we all know and love from our favorite detective stories.  The expressions on each characters face help add to the story really work well with the dialogue heavy scenes.  The only complaint I have is that the comic is colorful, and that’s my opinion more then a complaint. It uses darker shades of  each and every color but for something that is so noir in every other way I would have l preferred even more shadows and less colors.

That being said, perhaps the fact that they didn’t do something stereotypical  is what makes the comic unique in its own right.  All in all, Action Lab does it again and if you are a comic fan and you haven’t started reading their stuff then do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

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