An aged crime fighter desperately wants to reconnect with his estranged son, who he hoped would one day take the mantle of Doctor Star. Over the course of the story, we learn his World War II-era origin, how he got his powers, his exciting astral adventures, the formation of some of Black Hammer’s greatest heroes, and more in this heartbreaking superhero tale about fathers and sons.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1 is the latest offering set in the world of Black Hammer. Jeff Lemire opens this first chapter with a guided tour of an abandoned observatory. A deeply scarred and fragile looking Jim Robinson walks us through years of successes in his lab and failures at home. Harnessing the power of the Para-Zone at the behest of the US government, Dr. Robinson is tapped to develop a weapon that will change the landscape of war forever and tip the scales of world power in the United States’ favor.
Lemire uses some slick tricks to reel the reader in. Initial exposition comes in the form of a hand-penned letter from Robinson to his estranged son, trying desperately to explain his absence during the boy’s formative years. The dual-narrative style works really well for introducing the past events that shaped Robinson’s present, and the impact they had on the rest of the world.
Max Fiumara uses a throwback, pulpy art style that calls back to the Golden Age, but also has a modern, clean impression. The two storyline periods are consistent and connected, but have very distinct aesthetics. Much of that effect is owed to Dave Stewart’s color choices. The duality of the script is reflected in color flips between depressing, washed out grays in the storyline present to an almost sepia tone in the flashback sequences.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows is required reading for Black Hammer readers, but will also appeal to readers of sci-fi, Starman, and The Watchmen. There’s a lot of meat on this bone, and a second and third pass is recommended.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1, published by Dark Horse Comics, releases 07 March 2018. Written by Jeff Lemire, art by Max Fiumara, color by Dave Stewart, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot, covers available by Max Fiumara, Declan Shalvey/Jordie Bellaire, and Jeff Lemire.