Superheroes typically fight supervillains. But in the Black Hammer series, the superheroes all vanished in a Crisis-like event. So, what happened to the villains when the heroes vanished?
That’s the question series writer/creator Jeff Lemire answered in the spin-off mini-series Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil.
The heroic Black Hammer’s daughter Lucy Weber has grown up and never believed her father and the other heroes were dead. When a chance encounter leads to her dad’s old secret headquarters, she gets the idea to find her dad’s old enemies, specifically the nastiest villain of that universe: the immortal genius inventor Sherlock Frankenstein. Lucy suspects that even if Sherlock had nothing to do with Black Hammer and the others’ disappearance, he may at least know something about what happened and where they went, and no one has seen him in years.
Yes, without the heroes, the villains also all went away. Some are still locked up. Some retired. None of them seem to be committing crimes anymore. Lucy can find some of them, and few if any seem all that evil. At the center is the mystery of Sherlock Frankenstein, a man who threatened Spiral City for so many years only to disappear without a trace. He was spotted during the final battle between the heroes and the Anti-God. What was he doing?
Now, as much as I dig Lemire’s superhero universe, this mini-series didn’t do as much for me as Doctor Star. Lucy is a great character, but she does have a role in the main series, and Sherlock Frankenstein doesn’t show up in person until near the end of the story, and his big secret isn’t much of a surprise if you’ve read the main series. As such, this seemed like a nice side story, but little else. Basically, this was for diehard Black Hammer fans. 7.5 out of 10 squid kids.