Review: Jack Hammer #1

unnamed(5)Jack Hammer is back, and this time being published by Action Lab Entertainment. The series was originally published by Reasonably Priced Comics, but under Action Lab’s “Return of the Hero” banner, the series will hopefully get the greater attention it deserves.

I reviewed this comic originally way back in January of 2011, but a few years later, and a new publisher I revisited the first issue and thus an updated review. When I first saw the title Jack Hammer: Political Science #1 I imagined a series of political intrigue that might hearken back to my days as a political science major. Instead I’m thrown for a loop as it’s a pretty entertaining detective comic with superhero elements.

In Boston, where powers are real and heroes are rare, Jack McGriskin is a private detective with a wicked right cross and a penchant for nosiness.  When a missing person he’s searching for turns up dead, he stumbles onto a web of hidden corruption and a world he thought he’d left behind!

The writing is actually very solid, to the point I want to see what comes next in the second issue. The art is a little rough, but also good. You can see a lot of potential and there’s only some minor issues I have with it.

Overall, if you like detective stories, Jack Hammer: Political Science is worth checking out because 1) you’re supporting a smaller independent publisher and 2) it’s a really good read.

Written by Brandon Barrows the story is the usual standard noir/detective story and hits all of the plot points you’d expect. Crooked people, a cop you’re not quite sure you can trust, a detective with a shady past and dames. It’s all there. But still, this is entertaining and set up in a while it doesn’t seem like a list is being checked off. The dialogue is good, some flashbacks add depth to the main character and enough is hinted at to show there’s more to come as far as character development.

The art and character design is by Ionic. The art is decent, but doesn’t quite seem finished at times. You can really see this with the hair of the characters which looks stiff and flat. You have the head design (and some times you can see the rough pencils) and then the hair is penciled in with some lines and then colored. It works, but seems a bit rough, like there’s a next step to the art that’s been skipped and depth is missing. But that’s not always the case, which is weird. But overall I liked the art.

When I first read the issue three years ago, and have re-read it, I still am. Like most noir out there, it’s not totally original, but it has personality and enough to make it stand out. If you dig a detective story with a super hero twist, pick up a copy.

Story: Brandon Barrows Art: Ionic
Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainemnt provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.