The world of Black Hammer is becoming more and more fully realized with every issue under its umbrella. Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows is the second off-shoot series from the main Black Hammer comic (The first was Sherlock Frankenstein.), and it pulsates with the humanity, melancholy, and the kind of dangerous curiosity in discovering something new that tends to either reward cats or kill them. The world of Black Hammer is a beautiful discovery, Jeff Lemire’s curiosity to explore the mythos of superheroes in a different way is our reward. Black Hammer is relevant and – a descriptor I use rarely – it’s important.
Alan Moore had Watchmen, a brilliant excavation of the superhero genre that showed our heroes were nothing more than everyday people, capable of the exact same tendencies as any of us: lust, greed, nihilism, depression, and aging. Garth Ennis’ The Boys showed us our superheroes were a bunch of narcissistic sociopaths who caused one of the greatest tragedies of our time; it turned out it was a brutal and darkly comic meditation on 9-11 the entire time. Both worlds were a reflection of what the creators saw in the world around them. Black Hammer is Lemire’s superhero examination of Golden Age heroes lost to a modern world. It’s ponders the question: What do we become when we’re no longer relevant? Do our actions make us who we are? Does saving those around us, or even the world, make us capable of saving ourselves? By examining the heroes at the center of this world, he’s casting a mirror on all of his readers, daring you to ask those questions of themselves. Doctor Star fits firmly into the themes of this world.
It’s 1941 and a brilliant scientist, Dr. Jim Robinson, is on the verge of discovering a way into the “Para-zone.” He’s approached by the United States Government and offered full funding to finish his work and turn Para-radiation into a weapon against the US’s enemies. In short, Jim Robinson becomes the do-gooder Doctor Star. This story of a newly birthed hero is framed by that same hero in our current world, where the joy of being a hero has faded to the melancholy of being a lost soul. What went wrong? You want to know, because the storytelling is powerful. Max Fiumara’s artwork with the impeccable Dave Stewart’s colors create two visually potent worlds, a sad one and a hopeful one. A world that I can’t wait to dive back into.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (writer), Max Fiumara (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), Nate Piejos of Blambot (Letterer), Daniel Chabon (editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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