Review - Jack Hammer Book One: Political Science

Who says detective comics are dead? There's still a place for the gritty cop dramas where the tough as nails detective is fighting demons (both externally and internally) to make the world a better place. Characters like Jack Hammer, the titular character in Jack Hammer Book One: Political Science. The first volume is written by Brandon Barrow and illustrated by Ionic, published by Action Lab Entertainment.

Jack McGriskin is a private detective following a man. A man with the problem of being dead, thanks to the rather large hole blown through his chest. At first glance you think he was shot, but further reading reveals there's more to Jack's world than just guns.

Jack used to be a superhero and lives in a world where individuals with powers still exist. It's tough enough to contend with corruption in the world, but that corruption is made even more, er, corrupt, when superpowers are at play. His investigation takes him from the streets of Boston all the way to Congress, dealing with all manner of henchmen, lackies, contacts and sidekicks along the way.

Barrow has a pretty interesting concept, with Jack being a former superhero turned normal. It seems to be a recurring theme in more and more comics these days. Maybe creators just feel we should take the time to get to know the individuals responsible for saving our lives.

There's a lot of back and forth dialogue which really plays well for this type of comic. It's got all the trappings of a hard-boiled, detective story, with a little bit of that old timey charm. One thing about the story that was a little incomplete was the focus on the superpowers.

The reader is never really given much explanation as to who exactly has powers. On that, what makes those people so special and why don't they just go around using their powers for everything? Maybe it was missed in the first reading, but it just didn't seem to be that fleshed out. It doesn't detract from the story or anything, but it would've added more insight to Jack's character development.

Ionic's art is perfect for this type of story. It does a great job of blending the worlds of superpowers and humans, without those with powers running around in capes. The art isn't trying to copy anything else in the noir space, which is refreshing.

The first book is actually four-issues together, so you're definitely getting your money's worth here. There's not too many books out there these days like this one. If you're looking for more of the detective comics, then Jack McGriskin is your man.

Jack Hammer Book One: Political Science will be in stores in June 2012. Check out some interiors below.