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Quantum Age: From the World of Black Hammer #1 Review

4 min read

Black Hammer 2099 or the Legion of Black Hammer?

Creative Staff:
Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Wilfredo Torres
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot

What They Say:
Set in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series–but a thousand years in the future–a collection of superheroes, inspired by the legendary heroes of Black Hammer Farm, must band together to save the planet from an authoritarian regime. A young Martian must find a way to reform The Quantum League to save the world while solving the riddle of what happened to the great heroes of the twentieth century.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a couple of spinoff books having already come out to great result, Jeff Lemire is tackling a different area, and era, with the Quantum Age. This series takes place in the future and does what the Black Hammer books have done and played to some fun things done by comics publishers in the past, namely giving us an iteration of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Which is my favorite book that’s no longer being published so I’m excited about this. Here, we get Wilfredo Torres stepping in to give this a distinctive looking that actually captures a lot of what Dean Ormston did in presenting the “classic” Black Hammer period of the early heroes, just transposing it to the late 30th century. That’s something that appeals a whole lot considering the nature of the Legion itself when it first came out so the book hooked me pretty easily.

The premise here is one that works well but is told in a bit of a convoluted way. Taking place in 3094, we get to see how bad Earth is at the moment with aliens essentially not allowed and we learn how the President and his forces have been making strides at eliminating them offworld as well. This stems from an attack by a massive Martian force some twenty-five years earlier when the Quantum League was unable to save the planet as billions died and cities fell. What seemingly stopped the invasion was a massive nuclear explosion that eliminated most of the Martian forces but took out Manhattan with it, resulting in the League being broken up for those that had survived while the focus turned toward revenge and elimination of all enemies across space. Standard stuff for the most part but it moves back and forth in some awkward ways.

The present focuses on a young Martian that has shapeshifted into human form that is looking for help from the remnants of the Quantum League. The one that he’s found is Linda, aka Hammer Lass, who has been in hiding all these years by running a bar. The Martian, Trev, wants to draw her into the fight because of the carnage being done to the galaxy but she’s completely uninterested in that after all that she’s lost. The dynamic between the two is great, especially since we see a young Linda that’s very reminiscent of the Black Hammer in the Age of Doom era, and having the significantly older one that’s weary and worn to everything. But it also ties back to the earliest days that inspired the League with the Black Hammer and Barbalien from then that worked together, which makes it clear why Trev is looking for help with her first.

In Summary:
I’m a huge fan of Black Hammer and have really enjoyed the various miniseries that have been produced so far as they’ve all been different and distinct while expanding on the overall Black Hammer universe that Jeff Lemire has ended up finding to be popular. This series is definitely a stretch in a lot of ways because the property that it’s paying homage to doesn’t even have its own run these days and hasn’t for years, which makes me incredibly sad. What we get here leans into it while doing so through the Black Hammer lens and Wilfredo Torres is an absolutely spot on choice for the project. I love the look of the characters as it hits a sweet spot for me and my nostalgia towards the concept. This opening installment certainly isn’t bad but it feels like it’s a little more convoluted than it needed to be as a more linear approach would have worked better in my mind. That said, it’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what Lemire and Torres throw at us next.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 4th, 2018
MSRP: $3.99

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