Black Hammer smashes into a new era with Age of Doom#6, and brings along guest artist Rich Tommaso for the ride.
About the issue:
After leaving the Para-Zone, Colonel Weird finds himself in a strange, new place, separated from the rest of the team.
Tommaso is the perfect artist for this arc. Things get surreal real fast, and his style encapsulates that feeling the same way Dean Ormston encapsulated the creepy vibe of previous issues. It’s just a good fit that sets the tone instantly.
His art is bright and vibrant, and it has this indie/underground vibe to it. It’s pop art. You could almost compare it to Mike and Laura Allred’s work, and yet it feels wholly unique. This is what makes Black Hammer such a special read, its ability to look and feel like nothing else on the stands.
And kudos to writer Jeff Lemire for continually keeping this story fresh. If you think you’ve finally got a grasp on what’s going on in Black Hammer, think again. This issue proves that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the series. Lemire is the master of the “exploding premise” – just when the story seems to be settling in, he blows it to pieces and takes a hard left turn. Storytelling like this will keep Hammer engaging and new for years to come.
We’re hitting Grant Morrison levels of crazy now. Lemire is saying to the audience, “oh, you thought we were being meta BEFORE? Hold my Canadian beer.” With this issue, he changes everything you thought you knew about Black Hammer.
A whole new cast of characters is introduced as well, and they’re welcome additions to the universe. Starting with the incredibly named Inspector Insector, these characters are more strange and surreal caricatures of common comic book figures. Insector is the only one of the group to get any kind of characterization in this issue, but just by appearance alone, I can’t wait to see the rest of this motley crew do more next issue.
If you’ve never read Black Hammer before, give this issue a try. It’s a decent jumping on point, though there’s no substitute for starting from the beginning. But it gives a great sense of how weird and interesting the series can be, and Rich Tommaso is the perfect fit for this universe. Here’s hoping we see more of his work down the line after next issue.