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Rain Like Hammers

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Eisner award-winning writer and artist BRANDON GRAHAM (KING CITY, PROPHET, MULTIPLE WARHEADS) presents a self-contained graphic novel of distant, far-future science fiction. To rescue El, a young woman who has unknowingly entered a competition for immortality, supercriminal Brik Blok journeys to the palace-world of Skycradle. He disguises himself by mind-transferring into t Eisner award-winning writer and artist BRANDON GRAHAM (KING CITY, PROPHET, MULTIPLE WARHEADS) presents a self-contained graphic novel of distant, far-future science fiction. To rescue El, a young woman who has unknowingly entered a competition for immortality, supercriminal Brik Blok journeys to the palace-world of Skycradle. He disguises himself by mind-transferring into the body of a genetically engineered butler and begins making plans to steal an aristocrat's finger-keys Meanwhile, the walking-cities on the desert-world of Crown Majesty are being picked off by an unseen force!


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Eisner award-winning writer and artist BRANDON GRAHAM (KING CITY, PROPHET, MULTIPLE WARHEADS) presents a self-contained graphic novel of distant, far-future science fiction. To rescue El, a young woman who has unknowingly entered a competition for immortality, supercriminal Brik Blok journeys to the palace-world of Skycradle. He disguises himself by mind-transferring into t Eisner award-winning writer and artist BRANDON GRAHAM (KING CITY, PROPHET, MULTIPLE WARHEADS) presents a self-contained graphic novel of distant, far-future science fiction. To rescue El, a young woman who has unknowingly entered a competition for immortality, supercriminal Brik Blok journeys to the palace-world of Skycradle. He disguises himself by mind-transferring into the body of a genetically engineered butler and begins making plans to steal an aristocrat's finger-keys Meanwhile, the walking-cities on the desert-world of Crown Majesty are being picked off by an unseen force!

30 review for Rain Like Hammers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Something is destroying walking cities - but what? Meanwhile, a super criminal attempts a daring rescue by breaking into an ultra-secure compound of the mega-rich. Rain Like Hammers showcases Brandon Graham’s extraordinary imagination, as he takes readers on a sci-fi Alice in Wonderland-esque barney that nevertheless feels similar to our world. That high level of creation is also his weakness as it feels like he becomes so enamoured with the minutiae of his world-building that he forgets the sto Something is destroying walking cities - but what? Meanwhile, a super criminal attempts a daring rescue by breaking into an ultra-secure compound of the mega-rich. Rain Like Hammers showcases Brandon Graham’s extraordinary imagination, as he takes readers on a sci-fi Alice in Wonderland-esque barney that nevertheless feels similar to our world. That high level of creation is also his weakness as it feels like he becomes so enamoured with the minutiae of his world-building that he forgets the story he’s meant to be telling. He mentions in his afterword that this book was conceived as a short story collection but that somewhere along the way he decided to unify it all - and that’s probably partly why it doesn’t work. That entire final act is an incomprehensible mess as Graham tries to bring these disparate threads into a cogent narrative and completely fails. Characters duplicate so you don’t know who’s who, or why, there’s a giant space judge doing something and a golf-playing detective who practices erotic meditation saves the day somehow?! Gibberish. That first issue is brilliant though. We follow the day-to-day life of Eugene, an office worker, and his life feels like a lot of people’s today: you go to work, push buttons, stare at screens, come back to your home, watch TV, repeat. It captures the loneliness and isolation of modern life beautifully as well as the experience of being in lockdown - uncannily too, given that this comic was created pre-pandemic. He also notes, quite profoundly, in his afterword that “depression looks a lot like lockdown” which is why this particular comic is so powerful, in its own quiet way. I wish Graham had stuck to his initial idea of a series of short stories because I’d’ve loved an entire book of these zen sci-fi comics. Instead there’s the convoluted super villain/heist thing. Not that that part of the book was devoid of anything good - the super villain’s daughter, El, is having assassin training (or something - Graham’s not nearly as good a storyteller as he is an artist/designer), and the hotpot scene was exciting. And I can’t say enough good things about the art and Graham’s world-building. I loved the strange architecture, the huge interior and exterior spaces contrasted with the intricately detailed cityscapes like Sky Cradle, the puzzling but oddly familiar jobs, the wonderful vending machines that deliver giant egg-shaped food packages that transform into miniature edible landscapes like curry formed into small mountains, the laundry box where you drop dirty clothes into the top and clean, neatly folded clothes plop out from the bottom a moment later, the small bugs the characters smoke - there’s so much here and it’s so imaginative. One character has a baby on a stick on fire as a weapon! The aesthetics are amazing. But most of the second half of the book really bored me. The aristocracy stuff was dull, Brik Blok seemed to be treading water, the golf-playing detective and his sex robot servant car thing was too much, and the entire finale was garbled, underwhelming nonsense. Going back to his afterword for the last time, Graham says that he started this comic as a way of working through his frustrated feelings of directionlessness which makes sense as that’s translated into a directionless book! Still, there is plenty to appreciate here thanks to his imagining of this remarkable sci-fi world and parts of the story are quite good too, even if they’re all found in the first half. Not a must-read, but if you’re in the mood for some thoughtful and creative sci-fi, Rain Like Hammers is worth a look.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Brandon Graham has quite the imagination. Unfortunately, I always find his storytelling way too obtuse. His far off future, sci-fi worlds always give off a uniquely alien vibe. It's just that I typically find that vibe off-putting as the story is lost, meandering in minutia until I've quit paying attention. Then I need to backtrack and actually pay attention to writing I found uninteresting enough on the first pass. I think this will be the last book of Graham's I try out. His work just isn't ap Brandon Graham has quite the imagination. Unfortunately, I always find his storytelling way too obtuse. His far off future, sci-fi worlds always give off a uniquely alien vibe. It's just that I typically find that vibe off-putting as the story is lost, meandering in minutia until I've quit paying attention. Then I need to backtrack and actually pay attention to writing I found uninteresting enough on the first pass. I think this will be the last book of Graham's I try out. His work just isn't appealing to me. Received a review copy from Image and Edelweiss

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    I love this strange, silly, funny and witty book. It has a story, which sort of splatters all over the place, and then the splatters start dripping down and all the drips pool together again in the last chapter. The story is okay, and the characters are great fun. But it is the worldbuilding that's king/queen here - all the funky little details Graham manages to stuff in. This kind of worldbuilding can go two ways - it can become itty bitty and annoying, or it manages to come together. Here it com I love this strange, silly, funny and witty book. It has a story, which sort of splatters all over the place, and then the splatters start dripping down and all the drips pool together again in the last chapter. The story is okay, and the characters are great fun. But it is the worldbuilding that's king/queen here - all the funky little details Graham manages to stuff in. This kind of worldbuilding can go two ways - it can become itty bitty and annoying, or it manages to come together. Here it comes together beautifully. (see also: earlier painfully extended splatter/drip metaphor). And I just love Graham's art style, leaning on Moebius just the right amount to still be entirely its own Graham-y thing. I also can completely see how this book could drive some to distraction. Which kind of reader are you? The very, very rare 4.5 stars. (Picked up an ARC through Edelweiss)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Now here's a comic I can compare to the likes of the Mother franchise in terms of unique experiences. The fact there is technology and concepts of a far future where anything is possible comes up constantly. Only there's a strong sense of isolation from every character. Their environments and decisions force them to confront different forms of it all, including what they value. The reader definitely feels the sense of alienation thanks to the sound effects that need to accent actions. These peopl Now here's a comic I can compare to the likes of the Mother franchise in terms of unique experiences. The fact there is technology and concepts of a far future where anything is possible comes up constantly. Only there's a strong sense of isolation from every character. Their environments and decisions force them to confront different forms of it all, including what they value. The reader definitely feels the sense of alienation thanks to the sound effects that need to accent actions. These people experience identity crises and a need to find purpose. Sometimes they just need a new perspective to get it all done, along with a proper translation to guide them. I'm definitely walking away with a new perspective on my life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    It'd be a strange reader indeed who went to Brandon Graham for a clear through-line or a plot-driven comic, but even so this opens in a particularly cocooned mood. If his earlier work often centred on dreams of leaving, this time we're with the guy who got out – only to find out the place he's ended up is duller and more constricted than where he started. Not that it's as litfic tedious as that might sound – the setting is a walking city traversing an alien planet, and Graham's art still confers It'd be a strange reader indeed who went to Brandon Graham for a clear through-line or a plot-driven comic, but even so this opens in a particularly cocooned mood. If his earlier work often centred on dreams of leaving, this time we're with the guy who got out – only to find out the place he's ended up is duller and more constricted than where he started. Not that it's as litfic tedious as that might sound – the setting is a walking city traversing an alien planet, and Graham's art still confers that organic, intricate look on everything we see, not to mention an enviable sense of scale. And there are the little details too, like how to represent sounds on the page – "Tonight it sounds like a rhythmic climb upwards", next to a not-speech bubble filled with a staircase of pastel shapes – or the protagonist's favourite show, where the detective solves crimes with his detachable supernose, which sounds daft ("That is no ordinary awful death-fart!") but is if anything more sensible than the Russian show with a similar premise of which I once watched an episode on Netflix. The backmatter explains that this issue in particular came out of a depression which Graham admits had a lot in common with lockdown, and he talks about the influence of 'Iyashikei' or 'healing', a manga genre concentrating on small, tactile moments and intended to soothe, which sounds more than a little like a sort of ASMR on the page. Similarly, he suggests Rain Like Hammers was a kind of 'processing comic', which certainly gives a frame of reference – though one which becomes of increasingly questionable usefulness as the book continues. Before long we're switching protagonists (including two known as Vee and El, the second thing I've read this week where that was the case, and really, what are the odds?), a long way from those subdued opening pages, deep in a conspiracy spanning across the stars, all immortals, clones, body-jacking and finger-theft. And while it remains absolutely lovely to look at, it feels less and less like it has that devout interest in the textures of its strange worlds, not only compared to its opening chapter, but even compared to other Graham comics such as King City or Multiple Warheads. So in the end I can't really call it a satisfactory read, or a clear one – but it was inordinately pretty, and I hope it helped Graham work himself to a better place. (Edelweiss ARC)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matt DiGennaro

    What just happened?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    Hmmm... Just when you get used to the scruffy design aesthetic, and the fact the walking cities in the story here must all have been at the back of the queue when names were given out, that story completely gets dropped and swapped out by another so ungainly it took the blurb to tell me what was going on. When that got left behind, for the fact the intended target of that story was in a Danger Room that promised more than danger, I felt too left behind to continue. Like the design and the hand-l Hmmm... Just when you get used to the scruffy design aesthetic, and the fact the walking cities in the story here must all have been at the back of the queue when names were given out, that story completely gets dropped and swapped out by another so ungainly it took the blurb to tell me what was going on. When that got left behind, for the fact the intended target of that story was in a Danger Room that promised more than danger, I felt too left behind to continue. Like the design and the hand-lettering, this was a red hot mess.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Münevver

    Hiç bana göre bir okuma olmadı. Hikâyesini sevmedim, daha doğrusu ne anlatmaya çalışıyor anlamadım ki seveyim... Çok garip bir çizgi roman. İncelemelerini araştırıp görüşlerimi daha sabit bir hale getireceğim. Ondan sonra devam edip etmeme kararı alırım.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    As with all of Brandon Graham’s creations, this was so good! There’s always so much to look at in his art of detailed, quirky alien worlds. A brilliant reading experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    April Gray

    This was kind of a laid back story that meanders around a bit before coming together. The reader gets plopped down, with no explanation, into an unknown desert world with walking cities being attacked by some mysterious something, spend some time with an escaped convict trying to find the long lost daughter of an old friend, then some time with the daughter. These three storylines converge near the end, with a lot of weirdness. The story is interesting, with lots of moody moods, some intrigue, a This was kind of a laid back story that meanders around a bit before coming together. The reader gets plopped down, with no explanation, into an unknown desert world with walking cities being attacked by some mysterious something, spend some time with an escaped convict trying to find the long lost daughter of an old friend, then some time with the daughter. These three storylines converge near the end, with a lot of weirdness. The story is interesting, with lots of moody moods, some intrigue, a bit of action, and a lot of what's going on here- basically, don't expect to fully know what happening, and be prepared to speculate (which can be quite fun). I enjoyed the fill in the blanks aspect, but YMMV. The art is the star here- it does the heavy labor, the world building. There is an incredible amount of detail in the illustration, and sometimes several pages will go by without any text and you don't notice, because the story is moved along so well by the art. The art is gorgeous, with qualities of Moebius and Windsor McCay while being unique, and really adds to the dreamlike quality of the story. Read this if you want a trippy escape from reality that you don't have to think about too hard; you can just let this wash over you, and get caught up in the flow.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zac

    I was initially drawn to the art but found this a bit uneven. There are some great, epic land/cityscapes, but other times Graham is depicting some weird creature or obscure alien technology and his flat, intricate style makes it a bit difficult to understand what you are looking at. Eventually I got into the story. It takes a sharp left-turn after the first issue, with a number of new concepts and characters introduced, but it manages to all tie together in the end. Brendan Graham is full of gre I was initially drawn to the art but found this a bit uneven. There are some great, epic land/cityscapes, but other times Graham is depicting some weird creature or obscure alien technology and his flat, intricate style makes it a bit difficult to understand what you are looking at. Eventually I got into the story. It takes a sharp left-turn after the first issue, with a number of new concepts and characters introduced, but it manages to all tie together in the end. Brendan Graham is full of great narrative and visual ideas but he comes across as a little unfocused here. I’m a fan of other works I've seen online and I should investigate these further as I think I would probably get into his stories if he was able to reign in his style a little bit more. 3 1/2

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    The mix of simple and complex line art, the coloring, the character design, the goofy multi-lingual puns—all of these made this book really enjoyable. I will say that the ‘immortals’ group of bad guys idea is kind of a weary trope already; and a few plot points didn’t make much sense to me. But overall I liked the universe and the characters and Brandon Graham inspired me with his art and creativity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Houlcroft

    Brandon Graham is one of the most imaginative comic book creators out there, each page is layered with details, both hidden and direct, and it’s through this that the story is really told. The narrative in ‘Rain Like Hammers’ is a little more open than some of Graham’s other works but it’s still about as much of a roiling carnal psychedelic sci-fi adventure as you could ask for.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Fantastic worldbuilding as expected from the author, and great artwork with a Moebius feel. Reminiscent somewhat of Prophet and various Jodorowsky comics, while still feeling very original. Glad to see another full-length story like this from Graham.

  15. 4 out of 5

    James DiGiovanna

    One of the best comics I’ve read in a long while. As the complex story comes together it’s both surprising and really emotionally effective, both of which (especially the latter) are rare in comics. Brandon Graham is a gift.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Monteith

    Started brilliantly, then forgot where it was going. The esoteric design of the world within though is incredible

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Always an excellent experience reading this guy!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Not some Graham’s best work. The art is stylish and there’s some cool moments, but the story feels like warmed over Incal.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    amazing art, far off future. trying to find purpose and meaning in world isolated and segregated by wealth.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adam Fisher

    Review submitted to Diamond Bookshelf for potential publication. Did not like this book at all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    Beautiful odd little jem.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex McCullough

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gustavo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Lai

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Burkhalter

  26. 4 out of 5

    cck

  27. 4 out of 5

    christopher green

  28. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rob Moore

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