Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1
(Dark Horse – Writer: Jeff Lemire; Artist: Dean Ormston)
Has it really been over six months since Black Hammer proper has graced the shelves of our respective local shops? The Lemire-verse (I made that up… maybe I’ll copyright it) is ever expanding, so fans have been able to get our Black Hammer fix with mini-series like Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil and Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, but I am delighted to get back to our main title.
So, let’s jump in the way back machine to last September, Black Hammer #13. Lucy Weber is the new Black Hammer, and she remembers everything! One heck of a cliffhanger, right? Needless to say, but I will anyway, I’m excited for Black Hammer: Age of Doom. Issue #1 picks up right where #13 left off, with Lucy/new Black Hammer about to reveal all that she knows, and (kinda-spoiler alert) she… disappears? I feel like this groan-worthy moment (emphasized by Golden Gail’s “what the f@#$?”) was intentional… can’t very well wrap up things in issue #1, can we? So, some issue #1 stage-setting stuff happens, including Lucy waking up in some Hell-like dimension (which can’t be all bad, since the Ramones are apparently the house band) and Madame Dragonfly wants to help the gang more.
If you’re reading Black Hammer: Age of Doom (or Sherlock Frankenstein, or Doctor Star) you’re likely already a fan of this corner of the Lemire-verse. If you’re new, welcome! Any and all of these books are easy enough to jump into mid-stream, and compelling enough to make you want to pick up previous entries. Black Hammer is action and thrills, as well as a look at the melancholy day-to-day of a superhero in hiding. Sherlock Frankenstein is tech and sci-fi. Doctor Star plays like an Indiana Jones tale. Lemire has created a rich, unique and believable superhero universe separate from Marvel and DC.
Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart are back (on art and colors, respectively) carrying over the feel of the original Black Hammer series (even though it’s been unnecessarily renamed… sorry, you’re getting this rant: in press for Age of Doom, Lemire says the renumbering is a play on how comics are periodically, inexplicably restarted, but I say there was no need for that with the main Black Hammer title.) Ormston’s art reflects the claustrophobia of the small town that our heroes are stuck in. He has some fun with panels, especially ones that bleed into the white. Stewart has a recognizable muted palette that he uses in other books (the Mignola-verse, Criminal) but his color choices set a definite mood.
I knew Age of Doom was going to hit stores this month, but I’m still surprised it’s crossing over with Doctor Star (and rumor has it, another side series will drop this summer.) Right now, Jeff Lemire can do no wrong, and Black Hammer is his top work. This is the stuff that makes me keep buying comics.