You Can’t Handle The Truth In Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5

by James Ferguson

We got a brief taste as to what really happened to Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, and the other heroes from Spiral City in the previous issue of Black Hammer: Age of Doom. This one dives right into the truth, revealing it all in exquisite detail. This is what the entire series has been building up to and it’s a jaw-dropping bit of information.

There is a lot of exposition to sift through in this comic, but it never feels too text-heavy. Writer Jeff Lemire keeps up a riveting pace, pulling you deeper and deeper into the story with every turn of the page. This is a huge payoff as you get answers to just about everything, including how the heroes were stranded on Black Hammer farm, what happened to the original Black Hammer, and how Lucy found the heroes. It’s a big deal, folks.
How can you possibly make a story where a bunch of people sit around talking exciting? It helps that they’re discussing not online life-and-death situations, but the possible end of existence as we know it. Artist Dean Ormston propels the story forward with some pitch perfect character moments. There’s a lot of information for us to take in, but imagine what it’s like for the heroes. They just found out the truth about the past ten years of their lives and it’s resulted in some mixed feelings. Ormston shows everything from regret and sadness to shock and pure, unbridled anger.

There are some particularly heartbreaking moments as these characters lash out at the truth. This is not a problem they can punch or kick. Their powers will not help them solve this, nor will it help them come to grips with what they’ve just learned. Unsurprisingly, tensions flare up.
There’s also a sense of desperation among some of them, especially Colonel Weird. He has this haunting way of speaking that letterer Todd Klein produces so very well. His word balloons are oddly shaped, looking almost like a ghost. The font is a faded grey, making it seem like you’d have to lean in close to hear what he’s saying. This goes well with his shell-shocked face. This is a man that has stared into the abyss and it looked right back at him.

Hope seems to be slipping away from these heroes. Colorist Dave Stewart shows this in the drab, metal-covered surroundings. They went from the wide open skies of the Black Hammer farm to a glorified basement. The colors create a sinking feeling that amplifies the dour nature of the entire issue. It’s interspersed with a few flashback sequences to larger-than-life super hero antics that burst with colorful energy, reminding these characters of the adventures that are so far in their past.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5 builds to a monumental cliffhanger. When I realized that was where the issue was ending, I immediately looked to when the next chapter was coming out. (It’s October 17th, for the record.) This comic is absolutely stunning. It’s a testament to brilliant storytelling from a creative team that is firing on all cylinders. Black Hammer is revolutionizing super hero comics. It’s a game-changer.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5 from Dark Horse Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally from ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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