Age Of Doom No. 9: Forgotten lives and remembered pasts


Things are looking up, in the Age Of Doom.

Hot dog, sometimes you read a comic and it just revs you up! That claim applies to everything in the Black Hammer universe, but especially the Age Of Doom series. Everything about it, the characters, the world they inhabit, the trials they go thru, all of it is both nostalgic and brimming with humanity, which is the kind of evocative intent that truly good art should make you feel.

Writer Jeff Lemire is in top form here, slinging tales that pay homage to the storied histories of both DC and Marvel, with just enough tongue-in-cheekiness to allow it stand on it’s own. Artist Dean Ormston has a knack for capturing realistic settings and realistic feelings, and that is a treasured skill that translates to deeply compelling panels of action and anguish. Colored by the revered Dave Stewart, and lettered by Todd Klein, who is simply a treat, Age Of Doom is the kind of comic everyone can, and should, enjoy.

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Tragedy strikes in the Age Of Doom

Last issue it was revealed that all our heroes were back in a world where they didn’t remember being the Quantum League, except for Walky-Talky, who summoned Lucy Weber, the new Black Hammer, in an attempt to explain their mysterious past. This issue opens up with Abraham Slam, working a security guard in the Spiral City Museum, incidentally showing us that, in this strange new reality, Colonel Weird had died as an astronaut, and never lived to become Colonel Weird. Walky-Talky gives Lucy a summary of their adventures thus far, which Lucy disbelieves, and walks out the door. On Mars, Barbalien returns home to find his lover, Kev Kevz, mortally wounded by the villagers who cast them out for being gay, and his partner dies in his arms. Ormston has such a powerful grasp of emotions; it’s a truly sad couple of panels in which we witness Barbalien’s loss.

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More tough times, and a hammer of hope

Lucy leaves Walky-Talky and gets to work late, causing her boss to hassle her, which causes her to quit. Abe gets accosted on the subway, and is brutally beaten by two younger thugs, who tease him for reading comics and mentioning his boxing past. It’s hard not to feel sympathetic for an older person who knows they used to matter, and gets mocked and injured for it, once again illustrated beautifully. Lemire really knows how to invoke empathy, and the Abe subway scene is chock full of it.

On Mars, Barbalien murders everyone responsible for his lover’s death, which seems fair. He even destroys the village, and it’s hard not to agree with his righteous anger. Lucy can’t stop thinking about what Walky-Talky said, and ends up going thru her father’s old things, finding various documents and tools. After a little more looking, she finds a chest with the Black Hammer’s hammer, and upon grabbing it is transformed, once more, into the new Black Hammer, causing her to remember everything.

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Walky-Talky is about to deactivate, when Lucy shows back up. Inspired once again, they discuss how to find the remaining members of the Quantum League, the locations of which Walky-Talky is in possession of. The “go get em” attitude the issue ends on is infectious, as it is surely meant to be, and it makes the monthly wait for the next issue that much more delicious. 10/10, adamantly recommended. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.