Ball Peen Hammer

Written by Adam Rapp

Illustrated by George O’Connor

Color by Hilary Sycamore 

Reviewed by Lydia H.

Ball Peen Hammer is a post-apocalyptic story that focuses in on two separated lovers. We figure out that something has happened; war or a total collapse of society, something along those lines. A viral outbreak is sweeping the human population and according to one character, only 4% of humanity will survive (and only because they have a genetic immunity to the plague). One lover is attempting to find the other, to inform him of something important, hopeful. She is (blissfully?) ignorant to the deeds he’s been forced into in order to guarantee his own survival, despite the fact that there’s almost zero chance he’ll survive the plague. There is an air of expectation for some sort of resolution, for the two lovers; humanity as a whole. It’s dangled in front of the reader, but just out of reach. There is a sense of unfinished business, or a story cut short, but isn’t that life? From some other reviews I’ve read some people found this angle to be frustrating and disappointing, however, I found it ironically fitting. Our whole lives we’re encouraged to look for a happy ending or at LEAST for closure, when sometimes (a lot of the time) life doesn’t work out that way. This story is grim, quiet; just a brief moment in humanity’s history. It’s like finding an old diary in your attic and only the first few pages are intact. What happens after those few pages is not for us to know, but it still happened. Ball Peen Hammer is but one story in this universe that we get a glimpse of. Rapp has really set up what could be a great “one-shot” universe. I would love to see more stories from this same world. Not to mention the illustration and color work provided by George O’Connor and Hilary Sycamore are just fantastic. This story isn’t for everyone so I’d recommend looking for it at a library before you commit to purchasing it, as it retails for $17.99.