Title: Black Hammer.
Story Arc: Age of Doom Part Two.
Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Artist(s): Dean Ormston & Rich Tommaso.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart & Rich Tommaso.
Letterer(s): Todd Klein & Rich Tommaso.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: December 31st, 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Also in the Black Hammer universe:
Black Hammer (Vol. 1): Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer (Vol. 2): The Event by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer (Vol. 3): Age of Doom (Part One) by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral by Jeff Lemire.
Black Hammer ’45 by Jeff Lemire.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows by Jeff Lemire.
Would you rather live in a world, that you love, but made up of lies or deal with a real world, that you hate, composed only of truths? It is only when you realize that your decisions aren’t unrestrained by universal laws, including one where the greater good takes precedence over your own personal desires, that you realize that life just isn’t fair to anyone. Once you’ve had a taste of both worlds, once you’re put on stage and forced to make a decision, it becomes impossible for these individuals to part ways from the responsibilities that came with being a hero. The Eisner Award winning team of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston continues their Black Hammer story in this second parter where revelations rhyme with sacrifice.
What is Black Hammer: Age of Doom Part Two about? Picking up where things were left out in the previous volume, the heroes that have been stuck in the farmworld with no way to return to their lives in Spiral City now discover the reasons behind their impediment. While they find themselves split from one another, it is up to them to find it in themselves to reunite one last time to discover the final facts that will change their world once and for all. Collecting Black Hammer: Age of Doom issues #6-12, this story arc brings to a conclusion the two-part mystery that has haunted these heroes since their arrival at the farm following their epic battle with the Anti-God.
The first two issues to kick off this volume aren’t drawn by artist Dean Ormston but have a surprise guest appearance of creator Rich Tommaso who pencils, colours, and letters them, and it is not something to get excited about. Although it somehow does fit the bill and sets the tone to the meta-story that unfolds, it remains unappealing and ridiculous in its nature. The whole Black Hammer universe is known to be an ultimate love letter to superhero comics and isn’t unrecognized to be occasionally self-referential but this time around, it felt like a stretch and diluted the story arc with its unnecessary exploration of the role of the very creators behind comics.
The rest of the volume, all five remaining issues, is a return-to-form as Deam Ormston pencils, Dave Stewart colours, and Todd Klein letters the grand finale. With the familiar artwork back in play, the story explores the situation of these heroes as they now live their lives without knowledge of the lie that serves as the enshrinement of their reality. It’s through a linear story of recruitment that writer Jeff Lemire directs this story towards a predictable, inevitable, yet somehow adequate ending that unfortunately highlights the unremarkable traits of this resolution, although this series was otherwise filled with promising ideas exploring superheroes on an intimate and personal level.
Although the story is cleanly tidied up in this volume, marking an end—for the time being—to the canonical story, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston see their Black Hammer universe continue to expand with upcoming spin-offs and crossovers, including Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice!, Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy, and Colonel Weird: Cosmagog.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom Part Two is an underwhelming finale that goes full circle to establish the mythology of the franchise.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!