Black Hammer: Age of Doom is committing hard. It’s walking a fine line; on one side, what’s happening right now could be incredibly cheesy and convoluted, and on the other side is a book that is playing with the reality it’s created in a really interesting and intense way. Jeff Lemire has spent so much time constructing the reality of the main characters’ situations that when he untied the knot that was keeping it together two issues ago, it hasn’t stopped unfurling. To show just how much reality has shifted, Lemire has brought on a new artist, Rich Tommaso, who has also taken over coloring duties and possibly the lettering. The book has an entirely different feel. Usually, when an artist comes onto a book for an issue or two, it can feel a little weird, but because of the story and tonal shift, it works on a number of different levels, including intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically.
Two issues ago, our heroes found out just what the farm was that they had been stuck on, and then they found out that if they were to enter their own reality again, their arch nemesis, Anti-God, who they had been fighting just before disappearing, would reappear and all of reality would basically collapse. Just as they were about to return home, the issue ended, and now Colonel Randal Weird has been jettisoned off into his own story – a story that’s just as weird as he is. In fact, he feels less weird, less removed. This is necessary. For a character that has known what would come next to suddenly not know what’s happening, it puts the reader off balance again. It creates another mystery that was entirely needed. There’s more at work here than even he realized.
In a series that’s already great, this is an issue that will stand out, because the creators aren’t afraid to push themselves and the story into new territory.
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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