Review: BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #11: Lucy comes face to face with someone she would never expect, as the only solution to the ongoing fight against Anti-God is revealed!
Lucy Weber, the current Black Hammer, finds herself transported to New World. There, she encounters her father, apparently still alive. Jeff Lemire’s World of Black Hammer is a newly created universe, but contains so many pastiches and homages to different eras of comic history, that this universe feels familiar – as if we’ve been reading the comics for decades.
So, even though we are essentially meeting the original Black Hammer for the first time, it also seems like the return of a beloved character. However, since he is permanently stuck on New World, it doesn’t appear that he will returning to his role as Earth’s greatest superhero any time soon.
New World itself is a familiar-seeming concept with a twist. It seems to be very similar to DC’s New Genesis and Marvel’s Asgard, but the godlike residents (at least the few we have seen) are black. This may not seem that unusual in today’s world, but would have been outrageously shocking in the Silver Age. So Lemire’s having created such a realm as a faux-Silver Age concept gives the reader a jolt that makes them notice what he’s doing.
Lemire puts the teams characters in a quite ironic situation in this issue. The series began with a group of heroes trapped in a fake reality created by Madame Dragonfly. Some of the heroes, namely Abraham Slam and Barbalien were happier in this reality, and were not happy when they awoke in the real world. Now, it’s their turn to wake her from the new idyllic family life she has found herself in.
I also find the idea of a cosmic balance between good and evil an interesting concept. The fact that the existence of powerful superheroes on Earth necessitates the existence of an apocalyptic (or should that be ‘Apokaliptic’?) threat like Anti-god is intriguing. It seems somewhat reminiscent of the idea sometimes put forward in Batman comics that it is Batman’s presence that attracts flamboyant, mentally unstable villains to Gotham City.
However, the first Black Hammer seems to suggest that there is a way to banish Anti-god and keep that balance without requiring the deaths of the book’s heroes. This makes me wonder what exactly Lemire is planning.
There is nothing in this issue that I can point to as a negative. The universe Lemire has created is rich in science fiction and supernatural elements, thus there is very little that could happen that might strain credibility. The characters have so far acted in tune with the personalities Lemire has established for them. Over all, there are no problems in the story to point out.
Jeff Lemire has done something that other writers have attempted, but few have accomplished successfully. He has created a new comic universe, but one with a sense of familiarity and history. By blending elements that pay homage to established comic properties, with new characters, motivations, and situations, he has provided a new world for readers to explore.