The cracks in this alternate reality are starting to form as Lucy has seen the truth. She’s using her father’s hammer to wake everyone else up and get the band back together. Where do they go now that they know this reality is false? How do they get back home?
While I’ve seen quite a few alternate reality stories in comics, Black Hammer: Age of Doom is coming in at a slightly different angle. It’s questioning whether or not this world is better off without heroes and villains. This puts Lucy, Abraham Slam, and the others in a strange position. What if they kept everything as it is and just lived here?
Of course, that’s not going to happen as the Anti-God is approaching. This world needs heroes if it’s going to survive what’s coming next. This is where Black Hammer: Age of Doom gets back to the tried-and-true method of dealing with stories like this. Everyone needs to see the truth, usually with a bit of violence or electricity, then they all join forces to set things right. While reading this, I was wondering if there’s another way to handle these plot points instead of going through them like a paint by number exercise. If anyone can do it, it’s writer Jeff Lemire.
Although there’s a question about whether or not this reality is the better one, it certainly feels less lively than what it could be. Colorist Dave Stewart creates a dreary mood in Black Hammer: Age of Doom #10. It’s like there’s a constant dark cloud hanging over not just Spiral City, but anywhere these characters go. Any joy was sucked out of them along with their memories.
The process of waking up the heroes of Black Hammer farm is shown in some jaw-dropping visuals from artist Dean Ormston. It’s like you digest an entire person’s life in a single page with flashes of their past, from their happiest moments to their saddest. Abraham Slam’s is shown like an explosion coming out of his head. I would have been happy to see this for every character, but it’s used sparingly in this issue. The others are shaken up in different ways to keep things fresh.
It’s good to see some of these characters back together again. They make for an odd assortment of heroes with some pretty unique traits. Letterer Todd Klein keeps their speech varied with all different word balloons. I like how Colonel Weird has a faint, light grey font, like he’s speaking in a haggard whisper. Contrast this with the robotic Talky-Walky who is every bit the sci-fi robot or Barbalien who has a foreign, abstract style. It’s a nice mix.
With the heroes gathered and their memories regained, Black Hammer: Age of Doom is poised to make a big jump. Where these characters are going is the big question. Can they return to their original world? Or will they end up back at Black Hammer Farm? Judging by the cliffhanger ending of this issue, there’s a potential third option that creates so many questions.