Lucy’s father, the original Black Hammer has been a legend since this comic began. He was always spoken of highly, but we never really saw him. That changes in Black Hammer: Age of Doom #11 as Lucy meets him in New World, a mysterious land outside of our reality. It’s here he provides some valuable perspective as to the pending doom with the Anti-God’s imminent return. There’s a way to prevent all the death and destruction on the way, but the cost is so very high.
Lucy’s reunion with her father is short-lived, yet powerful. It’s a heartwarming scene as this is the culmination of everything Lucy has worked for. You can feel the love these two have for each other from artist Dean Ormston’s work. There’s a warmth here, despite the feeling of dread that hangs over every page.
Although I’m soured on the whole alternate reality idea, Black Hammer: Age of Doom #11 does provide a pretty great version for Madame Dragonfly. Here we have an enigmatic character we know little about who had a hand in sending the heroes off to a place outside of time and space and she’s shown in an entirely new light. She’s an average suburban mom with a husband, two kids, and a lovely home.
We spend some time in a normal day with Madame Dragonfly as she gets her kids ready for school and chats with her husband. On the surface, these moments are casual and completely ordinary. The kicker is that she didn’t have any of these things in the real world and she’s clearly very happy here. This is heartbreaking as we know she’s about to wake up to the truth and lose all of this. Every panel in these sequences carry some additional emotional weight with this knowledge. Writer Jeff Lemire crafts a compelling and tense character study here.
Although these scenes are shown in complete normalcy, there’s an ominous tone to them and not just because we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Colorist Dave Stewart paints the sky a fiery orange, symbolizing the sun setting for Dragonfly’s alternate life. This, along with the leaves blowing through the harsh wind, creates a foreboding feeling.
I will never get tired of letterer Todd Klein’s style for Colonel Weird. The character’s words are shown in a faded grey font in squiggly word balloons, adding to the strange nature of his powers and history. It’s like he’s a broken man struggling to push the words out.
Black Hammer has been toying with the tropes of the super hero genre since the beginning. Age of Doom takes us into the mega-events like Crisis on Infinite Earths, turning the concept on its head. It’s delving into the very idea of super heroes and what makes them do the things they do.