The daughter of Black Hammer has picked up his fallen weapon. Will she be the key to getting our heroes out of Rockwood once and for all? Your Major Spoilers review of Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 awaits!
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Previously in Black Hammer: Age Of Doom: Ten years ago, Black Hammer and six other superheroes saved Spiral City from the evil of the Anti-God, but in the process became trapped in Rockwood, an unchanging smalltown that seems straight out of The Twilight Zone. Shortly thereafter, Black Hammer died, leaving Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien alone in their strange new world, living on a farm bearing their fallen friend’s name, never quite giving up the hope of rescue. When Black Hammer’s daughter Lucy picked up her daddy’s namesake weapons, she became a new version of the hero, only to disappear before she could free her predecessor’s colleagues…
A JOURNEY THROUGH H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY STICKS
After last issue’s sudden exit, Lucy (aka The New Black Hammer) finds herself in a skeevy dive bar, where the heavily tattooed bartender clearly knows more than he’s letting on. He gives her some very vague and/or overly broad explanations of how everything is just a story, but then he leads her to the literal gates of Hades… and leaves. Back in Rockwood, Barbalien and Golden Gail investigate Lucy’s reports that the library history books are all blank, while dealing with a few secrets of their own. (Gail’s is a real doozy, by the way.) Black Hammer finds an interesting way to get out of the underworld, bringing with her a deceased Golden Age hero called Jack Sabbath, only to find things going from bad to worse, as they end up in Dreamland, a realm with a mighty familiar host whose word balloons are white-on-black. There’s a little bit of fighty action, some quiet drama and a couple of stolen library books to make things really high stakes…
MASSIVE SHARED-UNIVERSE ACTION WITHOUT THE SHARED UNIVERSE
The really fun part of Black Hammer titles is seeing someone playing in the equivalent of the Marvel or DC universes, only with new characters that we haven’t seen in a thousand stories before. That allows Lemire to surprise us (especially when it comes to Gail’s revelation about her real-world boyfriend in this issue, something that wouldn’t fly with Mary Marvel or Kitty Pryde.) Dean Ormston provides a really fascinating art job in the pages of Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2, with his renditions of the demons of the underworld particularly interesting, with overtones of Steve Ditko’s Silver Age Marvel work. That helps to add to the meta-textual fun in these pages, and the occasional hints of a Mike Mignola influence are also fun, and I am a big fan of the design of Lucy’s Black Hammer uniform. The continuing mystery gets a little bit of attention here as well, making me think that there’s a lot more to our heroes’ exile than just a weird alternate dimension.
BOTTOM LINE: I LIKE THIS BOOK
In short, this is a good’n and I recommend it to fans of all comics, but especially those who have issues with the traditional cape-and-tights superheroes. Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 takes a whole new tack on the matter of our imaginary super-friends, with loose, entertaining art by a tightly plotted story that covers a whole lot of ground, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Just the presence of a character code-named Abraham Slam makes this one worth a look, friends…