The Black Hammer universe at Dark Horse is growing substantially this week with the debut of Black Hammer '45, a tale set in the middle of World War II. The mini-series will be the first set of books in the universe not written by Black Hammer creator Jeff Lemire as Ray Fawkes (Wolverines) briefly takes over the reins.
Fawkes spoke with ComicBook.com about the upcoming series, a period piece he fleshed out with the help of Lemire.
"Jeff had the initial idea to fill out a bit of history in the Black Hammer world - specifically, to do a book set in World War II," Fawkes reveals. "We put the details together in a series of discussions, pitching ideas back and forth."
Outside of the Big Two publishers, it's an increasingly uncommon occasion to find a shared comics universe that spans multiple titles throughout several years. Much like its fellow Dark Horse comic Hellboy, the Black Hammer universe hasn't been released linearly — creating a series of intricately-weaved tales spanning space and time.
To Fawkes, going back in time from the current timeline wasn't necessarily difficult — it simply allowed him a more carefully crafted writing process.
"I wouldn’t say it was difficult, more just something to which attention needed to be paid," the writer says. "But weaving a new story into an existing timeline can be a lot of fun, and the history already in place provided a lot of ideas we could work with!"
"One of the great things about working with a universe as rich as Black Hammer has is the liveliness of the environment - showing or hinting at another side to characters we already know something about, or connecting to world events that we’ve read from another perspective."
Black Hammer '45 focuses on a group of fighter pilots called the Black Hammer Squad. In the midst of World War II, these pilots are considered the best in the business and are called in to deal with cases that teeter on the line of paranormal or otherworldly. In fact, this debut issue features the Squad in the middle of their most important mission of the entire war.
"It’s the most difficult, most intense, and most costly mission of the entire war for the Black Hammer Squad," Fawkes says of the story arc. "It also happens to be their last mission - as we learned in issue 1, and it’s going to cement them as the legends they are in the world of Black Hammer. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just the end of the war."
"It’s going to take some twists and turns you won’t believe - but at the heart of the story, there’s a
While the mini-series will focus mainly on the Black Hammer Squad, Fawkes confirms there will be some appearances of the Liberty Squadron throughout the pages. Not only that, Fawkes teases a pretty big cameo at the end of the second issue.
Keep scrolling to check out an exclusive first look at the first set of pages from Black Hammer '45 #1!
Black Hammer '45 #1 hits shelves March 6th.
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