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‘Black Hammer: Age of Doom #8’ – Advance Comic Book Review

Two issues ago, the superhero family of Black Hammer made a decision to jump back into the reality of Spiral City (their own world) despite the fear of Anti-God (their greatest villain) returning with them. This was after having solved the mystery of how they ended up at the farm. Then, issue #7 happened. It was bonkers and wonderful. It took the idea of “meta” in this series to its most playful and heightened conclusion. That was what happened to the reality-hopping Colonel Weird. Now, in issue #8, we find our way to some of the other members of the team. If issue #7 was about where all of the unused ideas go to die, then issue #8 is about a world with no stories. Of all the issues of the series so far, this resembles our own, the reader’s world. The most tragic place for a superhero to end up is, of course, a place where they are no one, where they no longer mean anything to the world and they have no ambition.

What we discover in the last two issues is that, regardless of how much control Weird thought he had over everything that was going on, there’s a bigger, deeper world of stories. There are more cooks making this stew. If we imagine that Jeff Lemire is the creator (which he is), then we ask ourselves, how much control does he have over this story? What influences have directed him down this path? What inspiration has opened up an idea only to draw upon another inspiration? How much control does the creator even have over their own creations?

Colonel Weird exists in the Quantum Zone. The series, and many of the side stories, have made the idea of the “quantum” particularly important. With the levels and layers at play here, that aspect of this story is coming more and more into focus. How many aspects to “our” characters can there be? An infinite amount? How many worlds can they become lost in? Well, how many worlds are we willing to follow them to? The name Spiral City takes on a contextually far more important meaning with this in mind.

Lemire has opened up a complex pandora’s box exploring the relationship of the creator, the created, and the viewer with relatable characters in beloved worlds. As we cascade towards a new decade (in our reality), Black Hammer may be one of the more important works we leave this decade with. I’m curious to see what our characters will think of that as they spiral from story to story and world to world.

(Is the farm our heroes found themselves living in connected to the Black Barn in Lemire’s other series, Gideon Falls? Coming from the same creator, the meta answer would be yes.)

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
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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