The Truth Is Finally Revealed In Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #4

by James Ferguson

What happened to the Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, and the other heroes that have imprisoned them in this bizarre world around Black Hammer farm? This mystery has been the center of Black Hammer since it began, leading to some top notch comics. At long last, we find out the truth and it is a doozy.

Of course, I’m not going to spoil that for you here. You’re going to have to go out and pick up Black Hammer: Age of Doom #4 if you want to see it for yourself. I will say that this issue pulls you in completely. Writer Jeff Lemire teases this out for the bulk of the book, forcing you to flip the pages faster and faster to find out the answers. That isn’t to say that you’re left hanging. The final page is a jaw-dropping image that creates some more questions in the best and most shocking way possible.
Madame Dragonfly was earlier revealed as the culprit behind this, however we didn’t know why or how she was doing this. That’s the big question. When Lucy, aka the new Black Hammer, figures it out, she forces Dragonfly’s hand, creating a tense showdown. What is most interesting is how Dragonfly reacts to this. It’s not anger or resentment; it’s sadness. Clearly she’s thought she was doing the right thing by this, but what could have possibly led to such a drastic move?

Think about the ramifications of her actions. She’s trapped her friends and colleagues here for years. They’ve been forced to live what passes for a normal life all this time, feeling stuck and hopeless for ages. Gail is particularly frustrated as she’s in the body of a child. Their lives have been filled with heartbreak and agony…and they just found out the cause of all this was in their own backyard. There’s an array of emotions that is going to come from this and it is riveting.
One of the qualities that I love about Black Hammer is how real the characters look. Artist Dean Ormston makes these heroes feel like regular people. Sure, they have amazing abilities and one of them is literally a martian, but they’re not chiseled from stone with massive muscles and impressive physiques. Instead, they’re just normal folks trying to get by in life. This adds a layer of authenticity to the book. While super hero comics can be escapism for some, there’s room in the medium for a more realistic portrayal of these characters’ lives.

A perfect example of this is in Abraham and Tammy. After finally spending the night together and finding a glimmer of happiness, Abraham reveals all to his lover. He gets out of bed, naked and sagging, and disappears into the other room, only to come out in his super hero outfit. It’s a tighter fit than he’s used to and he looks more than a little ridiculous, but he’s a hero nonetheless.
This also resonates in Dave Stewart’s colors. There’s a down to earth quality to them. You can practically see the dirt under their fingernails from working on the farm. This is a quaint, peaceful life, despite the frustration the characters can feel. This feeling creates a cognitive dissonance when the truth is revealed. It’s also yet another aspect that sets Black Hammer apart from your average super hero comic.

While there’s a lot of normalcy in Black Hammer: Age of Doom, it never lets you forget that it’s a sci-fi / super hero book. For example, they have a robot. Gail is able to wake it up for a hot minute and it sparks to life in a bundle of ones and zeroes. Letterer Todd Klein creates an old school vibe with its speech with a space age font and rectangular green word balloons.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom represents a payoff that long time readers will greatly appreciated. It’s a testament to solid storytelling that we’ve seen build and expand over some time and it is so worth the wait. This is a special comic that is packed with heart, emotion, sci-fi adventure, and so much more. To put it simply, Black Hammer has become the cream of the crop for super hero comics.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #4 from Dark Horse Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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