Black Hammer: Age of Doom (2018) #8

Black Hammer Age of Doom  2018  8

I’m not sure if I’m caught up on Black Hammer: Age of Doom. I might be one issue behind. I know the big reveal, but I don’t know if I missed one since. This issue is apparently a new arc—not really a jumping on point because, even though it’s accessible to new readers (the cast is starting over in a bland version of reality), none of it means anything if you’re not aware of what they’ve lost.

Writer Jeff Lemire splits the issue, unevenly, between next generation superhero Lucy Weber, previous generation superhero Abraham Slam, and then the Martian Manhunter stand-in, back on Mars and suffering their anti-gay bigotry versus Earth’s anti-gay bigotry. Lucy’s got the biggest part, then the Martian, with Abraham Slam basically a cameo. He’s a museum guard, living a lonely old existence, reading comic books and feeling out like something’s missing. Lucy’s working the phones in a pizza place, living a lonely younger person existence (she’s got a cat—in the most unrealistic moment in Black Hammer ever, the cat wakes her up three minutes before the alarm instead of an hour); Lucy does the narrating. The narrating is okay (though sans serif font for it is more than a little lazy and impersonal), because the whole point is the Dean Ormston art. He does the melancholy bland reality thing so well. Spiral City is amazing in the background and above the miserable people existing in this world without wonder.

Black Hammer has disappointed on multiple levels since its rather strong start, but it’s nice to see Lemire and Ormston (thanks to Ormston) able to turn in such a solid issue. Not sure it’s worth getting back into the book (and the tie-ins are a whole other thing), but Ormston’s still got it. And Lucy’s still a great character.

Not sure why we needed the Abe Slam cameo though. Yes, it gives Ormston some more stuff to draw (the museum interiors) and it adds some texture, but… the character’s entirely passive.

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