The Quantum Age #1
Jeff Lemire (Writer), Wilfredo Torres (Artist), Dave Stewart (Colors), Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT (Letters)
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date July 4, 2018
I immediately fell in love with Black Hammer the moment I unpacked the first issue and put it on the shelf of my comic shop. I knew I needed to stow an issue away before the book sold out so I could dive into the strange and unique comic whose cover had drawn me in. Now we are waist deep into the farmhouse storyline of the original Black Hammer series and two spin-offs deep, with a new one on the horizon with the release of The Quantum Age #1. Dark Horse also gave us an exclusive sneak peek at issue four’s covers.
Dark Horse Comics’ new foray into the Black Hammer universe takes place 1,000 years after the events in the original Black Hammer comics. The new series, The Quantum Age, is drawn by an incredible artist by the name of Wilfredo Torres and is written by Jeff Lemire, the man behind this wild world of heroes. When asked who is the Quantum League, the set of heroes this comic focuses on Lemire replied, “The Quantum League was a collection of young people from worlds and species from across the universe. They all banded together as a symbol of unity and hope. But that symbol has been torn down and overpowered by fear and hatred as our series begins. The legacy of the Black Hammer characters from the past will play a larger role in the series in some very unexpected ways.”
I asked Mr. Lemire what made him want to tell the story of the Quantum League. He replied, “As I built out the past in series like Sherlock Frankenstein and Doctor Star, I realized that I could also build the future. In superhero comics, the tradition of ‘future superheroes’ is a popular theme to use. I felt like exploring new themes and characters while building the legacy of the Black Hammer heroes. I also wanted to explore the experiences of the younger heroes.”
The first issue of The Quantum Age is dynamic and full of fantastic new heroes, with characters like Erb, the excellent telepathic armadillo, who Torres said “was particularly fun to draw.” Other heroes include Gravity Lad, Storm Girl, Archive V, and even a familiar hero Hammer Lass, who is a direct descendant of the Weber family.
I asked Wilfredo Torres what it was like to design characters for The Quantum Age. “Jeff had very specific ideas about the look of Archive V,” he said, “but for most of the characters, he gave me a loose idea of what he had in mind and then let me run with it.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beautiful color work in this book. Dave Stewart worked on the colors of The Quantum Age #1, and his vibrant blasts of color meld perfectly with Wilfredo’s lively drawings. The color work really stands out during a flashback where we see the Quantum League mid-battle in the middle of Spiral City. The reds, pinks, and oranges bounce off the placid green background, bringing to life the battle between both factions.
Torres speaks highly of working with Stewart, saying, “Dave is one of the best colorists in the business. We worked together once before on a Lobster Johnson book, so any chance I get to collaborate with him is a big win.”
There is a thread that runs through the Black Hammer Universe and that is the Weber family. Starting with the hero Black Hammer and his daughter by the same moniker in the Farmhouse series, to the Hammer appearing again in the hands of Hammer Lass in The Quantum Age. I asked Jeff Lemire what about the Black Hammer family makes them so vital that they keep popping up within this universe? And to my surprise, my question stepped into possible spoiler territory.
“That is a great question and is one I can’t fully answer without spoiling some of the story. In general, I do love the convention in superhero comics of a hero’s legacy. This convention is often seen at DC with heroes like James Robinson’s Starman or Geoff Johns’ JSA run. This idea of heroes aging and passing the torch (or in this case the hammer) is very appealing to me. I also love the idea that this hammer has been in the Weber family for a thousand years. To me, that’s a story begging to be told.”
In this first issue, Hammer Lass seems to be the key to helping this young Martian get the ole Quantum League band back together. We travel from the present to the past and see the shift in Hammer Lass’ demeanor as she goes from willing to die to save the world, to wanting to save her ass above all else. I am very interested in seeing present Lass’ development over this six issue series.
Black Hammer is known for is its ability to bring an often uncomfortable human side to the Superhuman. Their flaws, loves, hates, and everything in between are on display, and that is no different from The Quantum Age. Wilfredo Torres commented about how the big moments were fun to draw, but the quieter, more intimate reactions are what he likes working on most.
“Body language and ‘acting’ are key for me both as an illustrator and as a reader, so it’s something that I think about a lot. I want things to look natural so that they’re relatable and communicate the story as clearly as possible.”
This issue of The Quantum Age does just that: it balances the more massive superhero moments against these quieter human moments. Creating not only exciting character development but an intrigue for the reader to want to find out more about this world and the cast that wolves within it.
The Quantum Age #1, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Wilfredo Torres, is an excellent addition to the Black Hammer Pantheon. Jeff Lemire sets up a fascinatingly human story about superheroes who have watched their world descend into a place they no longer recognize. Torres’ art is engaging and is an excellent addition to Lemire’s words, and as the Black Hammer Universe continues to expand, Jeff doesn’t see this story ending anytime soon.
“Wilfredo and I have barely scratched the surface of this corner of the Black Hammer Universe. We end the series in a surprising way that sets up some very interesting things not just for these characters, but also for the entire Black Hammer Universe moving forward.”