Black Hammer: Age of Doom #2 continues to build out this superhero universe that Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein have created.
Lucy Weber is working on finding out where she’s been transported, and how she can get back to the others. Meanwhile, back on the farm, Gail and Barbie head to the library, determined to take their destiny into their own hands.
The first Black Hammer series focused mostly on setting up the characters and creating mystery. Age of Doom, however, is putting a much heavier emphasis on worldbuilding. As Lucy traverses various planes of existence, we learn more about this universe and how it functions. We still have no idea what’s happening, so the mystery persists, but pieces are slowly starting to fall into place. There’s at least some sort of context now.
Part of the fun of this series is how it deconstructs the superhero genre. Lemire has been picking apart tropes and cliches since issue one. He’s doing the same thing by building out the universe, both within Age of Doom and his few spin-off titles, but Lemire’s talent is keeping it interesting. He’s not just doing blatant meta-commentary. The story is intriguing and fun as well as deep. It can be enjoyed on a number of levels.
And no worries – while this issue focuses on building out the universe, it doesn’t sacrifice everything we’ve come to love from Black Hammer. We still get some tender, personal moments between the heroes, and it’s still a mystery at its core.
Last issue, readers got a taste of the strange, new places this story was going to take them, and this issue delivers a full meal. From the dark and horrific to the surreal, the art team delivers a visual smorgasbord. Ormston and Stewart are the perfect match for this tale, and Age of Doom is allowing them to show their range as they shift from normal settings, to the dreadful, to the downright strange. But all the while they manage to maintain a consistently unsettling tone. Which is essential because it keeps the comic feeling fluid instead of jarring as they jump from place to place.
Todd Klein’s lettering has played a huge role in establishing the tone of Black Hammer from the start. This issue, he does some subtle work paying homage to a classic comic series. It further helps set the tone of a newly introduced dimension, and it lends something of an idea as to where the next issue’s going to. Plus, it plays right into the whole “deconstruct the genre” aspect by tying this series to one that helped establish the medium. (One that he himself worked on no less, to really drive home the meta-fun.)
The 2018 Eisner nominations came out recently, and Black Hammer received its necessary nomination for Best Continuing Series. Pick up Age of Doom #2 this week, as well as all of the preceding issues, and see what all the fuss is about!