By Jeff Lemire, Wilfredo Torres, Dave Stewart, Nate Piekos
Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer universe is constantly expanding into new books, and on July 4, we see it take another step with a new series; Quantum Age. In the year 3041 AD, Lemire introduces readers to a new set of characters that somehow feel familiar. Our main character, Trev is a refugee in a sci-fi world that seems to hate him, and he’s come looking for help in a planetwide war. His characterization ties into the setting development, and these aspects combine to make the Quantum Age a really interesting read.
Wilfredo Torres on lines has a looser take on what we see from the main book. With so many series under the Black Hammer banner now, though, it’s probably safe to say that we’re passed the point of trying to replicate the flagship. More than that, this series is far flung from any other Black Hammer book, so Torres’ fresh style is welcome. Quantum Age feels much cleaner than a lot of comics. Oftentimes, backgrounds are sparse when the focus is on characters, and where some artists stumble with this, Torres is confident. He has a good sense for when detail should fade away from a panel to shift focus, and keep areas from being too crowded.
Similarly, Dave Stewart, veteran of the Black Hammer universe, takes a different approach in this sci-fi setting. Quantum Age lacks some of the grit and texture that made Black Hammer so distinct, but again, it works for the setting. Sprial City is supposed to be sanitized to a certain extent, so when Stewart uses flatter colors, it’s because we’re no longer in a dirty old barn. Just as we’ve come to expect from him in this world, his coloring is an integral part to describing where we are.
Narratively, it really feels like there’s not a person alive who will tell Lemire no, which is really cool to see. Quantum Age #1 takes us far and away from any familiar time or place, but wraps readers up in its characters through flashback. It’s a familiar tool for fans of Black Hammer, which points to a larger thematic message for the series. As far as this first issue goes, though, there’s a lot to be excited about. Even as we go to the deep future year of 3041, Lemire’s characters echo through the years and carve unique paths for themselves and their legacies. It seems that Quantum Age will be a team superhero story mixed with redemption and dystopia. There are points that new readers will glance over, while old ones will find hints of heroes who have been long gone by this point.
Quantum Age #1 has a solid grasp of setting and characterization. The people and the places are very much alive. For anyone who’s dissatisfied with any of the big two team books (but how could you not love them right now?), Quantum Age is an easy recommendation. Fans of dystopia, sci-fi, and Avengers or Justice League will feel right at home here, even if they’ve never read a Black Hammer comic before.