‘Black Hammer: Age of Doom #9’ - Comic Book Review

If we’re looking at Joseph Campbell’s teachings, he talks often about the hero’s call. That moment in which, despite whatever doubt the main character has, they make the decision to embrace their fate and transform, or begin their transformation, into a hero. For Lucy Webber (a.k.a. Black Hammer), that calling has come on multiple occasions, because Jeff Lemire continues to reset reality around our team of Golden Age Spiral City superheroes.

From the farm that the superhero team found themselves on in the very beginning, to being back in their own universe but scattered and having lost all of their memories, Black Hammer's story has been all over the place. Through multiple dimensions and realities, including the place where unused stories go to die, the heroes have been through the ringer. This current issue pushes two main stories in this new reality forward, Lucy’s and Barbalien’s, while the other characters (that we know of) are living out nothing lives, their wheels spinning.

I’ve been thinking about this issue recently, as I’m a few days late with the review, and it’s given me some time to let the story resonate. I’m not sure what to make of it yet within the overall story arc. I feel there’s a greater reason why whatever is happening to Barbalien is happening to him now specifically; that it may change him to a degree that he won’t care anymore what happens to the rest of his team anymore. Apathy - that’s the fear. That’s the fear with all of these characters. Will they care anymore how their story turns out? And, who is ultimately behind all of this?

We’re in a very complex place with this story, a place that is not visceral; it’s not about stopping a villain. Instead, it’s cerebral. When you are a hero - or even in everyday life someone who strives to be a good person - you have to constantly remake that decision to do good. You may become exhausted, you may get beaten down, and the temptation to give in to the monotony or the constant difficulty of failure might make you decide, just once, to do the opposite of who you strive to be. Each time that you make that decision to do nothing, it becomes easier. Our heroes are fighting against the most difficult struggle for anyone: everyday life. The fact that what Barbalien is also fighting against is a part of everyday life is damn depressing.

I’m more curious now than ever to see where this story goes. Black Hammer is such a curious, strange experience - my kind of experience.


Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (writer), Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormstom (creators), Rich Tommaso (artist, letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Brett Israel (assistant editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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