Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel that takes heroes from the bygone era, and stick them in a purgatory on a small farming town, where there is no such thing as superheroes. Some find love, others find betrayal, and some heartbreak in this purgatory, but most just want out. Is there something keeping the team there or someone? In this novel we find out the answer. Black Hammer breaks down the super hero character analyzing what sacrifice is in a really humanizing way. Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom collects issues 1-5 of Black Hammer: Age of Doom by Dark Horse Comics.
The Plot: Five heroes are stuck in a small town, after a hellacious battle to save Spiral city. The heroes don’t know why they are placed out in a rural town and spend most of there days on the farm, the ones who can be seen act like a family to not have suspicion arise. When we meet the heroes they have been trapped for 10 years. Abraham Slam is the leader and a hero of the bygone era He is over fifty and still strong as an ox he is the father figure, Golden Gail has the power of regeneration and flight, the purgatory of the town has stopped her regeneration, leaving her a fifty year old trapped in the body of a 12 year old, Colonel Weird comes straight from pulp as he is a former astronaut stuck between two vortexes, leaving his body and mind like a ghost not familiar with dates or time since they are relative to him. Madam Dragonfly is a witch that took a bad deal to save her daughter, and watches over a mysterious cabin, that was also transported to the town. Barbalien is a shapeshifting alien from Mars, and Walkie Talkie a female robot that Colonel Weird met on a mission. At the end of Black Hammer Volume 1 Secret Origins, the Black Hammer’s daughter Lucy joins the heroes in purgatory, Madam Dragonfly erases her memory quickly before the other’s arrive, and just like the left she is stuck and can not remember how she got there. At the last moments of Black Hammer Volume 2 The Event, Lucy finds and picks up her father’s old Hammer and becomes the new Black Hammer, and suddenly remembers everything about how she got there and who betrayed the team, but before she can get a word of she is whisked away to a purgatory that leads to her own personal hell. She must break free, so she can reveal all. The rest of the team follows the leads Lucy was working on and notice the town has changed. All will be revealed where they are why they are there and if they can or even want to escape.
What I Liked: Abraham finally admits to the woman he loves that he’s a super hero and … she laughs at him as he has the outfit on the moment is great because he as hid this big secret for 2.5 novels and that is the reaction after all the build up. Gus the half man half deer from Jeff Lemire’s other graphic novel Sweet Tooth makes a cameo appearance. Gail who is a kid in body only with the mind of a 50 year-old has it out with the librarian that suggest the kiddie section. I like the majority of Lucy’s own purgatory, the conversation with the devil was a good one! The humor was balanced by the sad moments really well. Gail’s reaction when she finds out about the betrayal was great. The art is better I still hate the way these artists draw people.
What I Disliked: I did not like the explanation for the ten years of purgatory, I felt it was a little bit of a slap in the face, for getting invested in the characters of purgatory, and didn’t feel those character’s reactions played well on a reread of what happened at the end. I reminded me of the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker plot line not making much sense. There was only the tiniest bit of a flashback, this series has had some really great flashback moments, and they were’t there in this volume and were greatly missed.
Recommendations: I will barely recommend this book it was my least favorite so far. The Black Hammer series as a whole I would give 4 stars and say it is worth it to read, but Black Hammer Volume 3 Age of Doom Part One I rate 3 out of 5 stars. I will read the next volume in the series Black Hammer Volume 4 Age of Doom Part Two. Part one ended in a cliffhanger and I am intrigued of the new direction that the next book will go in.