We're big fans of monthly comics at the PCG, but if you missed an issue, or just fancy reading a story in a single sitting, a trade paperback or hardcover is the way to go.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics
James R: It will come as no surprise to long-time readers how much I love Jeff Lemire's work, and this series in particular, but if you have been holding off on delving in to the world of Spiral City and Rockwood, the latest collection from Dark Horse (assembling issues #1-5 of Age of Doom) should definitely be worth your hard-earned cash. Why? Well...
1. It's so much more than a tribute to comics history.
One of the most notable things about the world of Black Hammer is that Jeff Lemire has used the history of comics as one of the narrative threads of the book. As in the real world, the heroes of Black Hammer have gone through Golden, Silver and Bronze ages, and have a Legion of Superheroes-esque future ahead of them. In Age Of Doom, Lemire uses the 'dark' comics trend typified by Vertigo in the '80s and '90s. In her quest to find out the truth behind her father's disappearance, Lucy Weber travels to dimensions that will be familiar to readers of Hellblazer and Sandman. What works so well is that Lemire doesn't use the history of comics as a punchline, rather it's a salute, and a deftly-woven use of familiar tropes to move the narrative forward. As Lucy travels through the netherworlds, it's balanced by the heart-breaking stories of love and loss for Gail, Barbalien and Abraham Slam. Black Hammer is a story about outsiders: despite their heroic mantles, many of the main characters simply don't fit in, and their attempts to overcome loss or make peace with themselves grounds the story, making even the most alien of protagonists recognisably human.