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Black Adam #1 (of 12)

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 19 critic ratings.

There is no forgiveness for Black Adam. This is the reality Teth-Adam, immortal man of indomitable will, must face when he discovers he has been infected with an incurable plague destroying his immortality. Haunted by the specter of centuries of dark deeds, Black Adam transfers his powers to a worthy successor who will redeem Adam’s legacy and defend their ancestral homeland of Kahndaq, only to subsequently become mystically “handcuffed” to him when Adam’s plague is arrested, giving birth to perhaps the most volatile and dysfunctional super-team in DC history! Powered by stunning art by Rafa Sandoval (Justice League) and breathtaking painted covers by Irvin Rodriguez (Detective Comics), writer Christopher Priest (Deathstroke, Justice League) brings his trademark wit and skill for character deconstruction to an entirely fresh examination of the man you love to hate! Get ready to ride the lightning!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
25 pages
Amazon ASIN

19 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    The Newest Rant

  • 90

    Graphic Policy

    Written by Priest, the comic plants a flag early as to what we can expect from it. Lord Adam is dragged before a US Senate hearing about violations of some exportation laws involving Kahndaq. A leader of the democratic opposition movement is murdered. All of that spins into a shocking finale that looks to explore the future of the nation. Priest has delivered superhero heroics with political drama for a debut that looks to challenge the perception of Black Adam as a despot and ruler, a benevolent dictator. I can guess exactly where things might go and what discussions might be had but it all comes together for a start that has a lot of potential as a comic series that will challenge the reader to think about the role of superpowers and superheroes, as well as those in the middle. The art by Rafa Sandoval is fantastic. With colors by Matt Herms and lettering by Willie Schubert, everything about Black Adam #1 looks beautiful. The character design is great. The action is solid and the transformations are memorable. The use of words in battle and switching explodes on the page in memorable moments… really all the visuals are memorable. It’s a comic that’s as great to look at as it is to read. As an aside, having worked on the Hill, the scene in the Dirksen Senate building brought back memories and the rather cold and boring look of hearing rooms. It’s not that far off from reality so bravo to Priest and Sandoval. Though, The main room in the Senate might have been more appropriate for a head of state, plus the “comic hearings” took place there too. Black Adam #1 is a fantastic debut. This is a “mature” superhero comic in that it’ll make readers think yet delivers the action and spandex and capes one would expect. I had high expectations for it and it met them in every way. One of the best comics of the week.
  • 90


    This issue has it all, and it may be a lot to take in for new readers — and maybe even for some seasoned readers, as it throws out a good bit of what’s going on with current continuity in regards to Black Adam. And honestly, I think that’s one of its strengths. This is already a challenging miniseries that is very much doing its own thing with the magical, cosmic side of the DC Universe, and I can’t wait to see how else Priest and co. push the envelope.
  • 90

    Geek Dad

    Whenever Priest works for DC, it’s usually something special. He was able to take Deathstroke from being a one-note villain to a compelling protagonist of what was essentially the superhero version of Breaking Bad, and now he’s back for a return engagement—turning his attention to the complex antihero Black Adam in a twelve-issue miniseries. As is no surprise with Priest, this is a very political book—but not in the sense that it has a lot to say about current issues. It’s a geopolitical story at its core because Black Adam is a national leader, and it uses that potential to its full effect. It also does something very different—giving Black Adam a human form, Theo Teth-Adam, who actually serves as the ruler of Khandaq. This officious, sarcastic man with a deep knowledge of global affairs and no time for fools delivers some of the best scenes of the issue—but he’s also wounded and sick, as the effects of a battle with a Darkseid impostor are weighing heavily on him. The other half of this story doesn’t seem to fit at first—it focuses on a young Doctor named Malik who is doing his shifts at a local hospital and delivers some less-than-polite treatment to a white supremacist. But when a Khandaqi opposition leader winds up dead and cuts off the resistance to Adam’s rule at its peak, Malik winds up in the middle of all of this when both Black Adam and the Police come looking for him. This is a common trick of Priest’s, where he centers a lot of his run around an original character whose secrets are revealed very slowly. People who wanted a lot more of Black Adam’s typical brand of explosive action may be a little disappointed with this first issue, as there is only one big fight scene, but those people are just missing what makes Priest’s work great. He’s creating the supervillain equivalent of a nuclear arms race by the end of the issue, and the eleven issues ahead are likely to be great.
  • 90

    All eyes are on Black Adam at DC Comics this year with the character set to debut on the big screen in October and played by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. However, Black Adam #1 from writer Priest and artist Rafa Sandoval may become the most intriguing new take on the character since his debut as a Captain Marvel villain way back in 1945. The new series takes Priest's idiosyncratic storytelling style to examine the manifold complexities contained in an immortal deity and Middle Eastern tyrant considering his place in modern geopolitics, with plenty of clever dialogue patter and stylish action sequences to accompany those big ideas. Black Adam #1 sets the stage to challenge readers' existing notions of the character and global and never fail to simultaneously entertain.
  • 90

    But Why Tho?

    Black Adam #1 is an incredible start. The character is already one of the most imposing that DC has created, as well as being unpredictable. And yet Priest, Sandoval, and Herms shatter expectations. Sure, the first half of the issue had elements that could be predicted—glimpses into Black Adam’s life as a Lord. But what happens in the next part of the comic was one of the year’s best surprises so far.
  • 90

    DC Comics News

    Black Adam #1 is an excellent first issue, as it establishes not only the characters place with the DCU but also a conflict thats fascinating. Its obvious that Priest has a plan for this series and that Sandoval's art jives with Priests vision. This premiere issue delivers a complicated picture of a complicated character with a cliffhanger that will likely leave readers wanting more.
  • 90

    First Comics News

  • 83

    Zona Negativa

  • 80

    Women Write About Comics - WWAC

  • 79

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    Thanks to Sandoval, BLACK ADAM #1 ignites with power and explodes out of the gate. However, it’s Priest’s story that confuses us as readers are quickly introduced to a variety of characters and plot threads without much introduction or explanation. Luckily, as BLACK ADAM #1 comes to a close, readers will be able to sift through some of the complications with just enough intrigue as the cliffhanger adds the perfect lightning strike to spark readers’ interest for issue two. As the first issue goes, I wish there was more clarity and more action to hook fans out of the gate, especially for fans new to Priest’s writing. However, looking at past practice, I have no doubt the story will gain clarity and structure as BLACK ADAM continues to unfold. So, I recommend sticking with the series for at least two more issues to get your feet wet before moving on. But, clarity is the key in order to keep this reviewer reading.
  • 75


  • 74

    Comic Watch

    his is an interesting time for the DC Universe. Dark Crisis is looking to be an exciting event, though we are still in the early weeks of it. With the Justice League as we know it gone for now, Black Adam was looking to be one of the few “heavy hitters” still in play. That is until Black Adam #1. Written by Christopher Priest, illustrated by Rafa Sandoval and Matt Herms on art and coloring duties respectively, and lettered by Willie Schubert, the new 12-issue limited series follows Black Adam and the successor to his power, Malik White. Black Adam #1 is a solid first issue to a series that looks like it will introduce a whole new Black Adam to readers. The gist of the issue is that Black Adam is infected with some type of plague and is dying and he must pass on his power to Malik. I think readers will find Malik funny and charismatic. I’m intrigued to see how he handles Black Adam’s power, but most of all, I am interested to see what he becomes with that power. There is a youthfulness to Rafa Sandoval’s art that works to the benefit of Priest’s direction by bringing on a young successor to Black Adam’s power. Matt Herms is a talented colorist that finds the balance between the serious tone of Black Adam and the lightheartedness of Malik. BLACK ADAM #1 takes the titular character in a new direction and introduces readers to the funny and charismatic Malik!
  • 70

    Lyles Movie Files

    Black Adam has all the structure and setup of a typical Priest ride. Priest will definitely take readers on an unpredictable journey so it’s best not to judge too quickly after a somewhat jarring opening act.
  • 67

    Major Spoilers

    All in all, Black Adam #1 feels like a comic book from an earlier portion of the post-Flashpoint DC Universe and on those terms it’s an above average outing for the power of Shazam, with a fun Priest story and okay art. If it weren’t coming out at this point in time, I might even rank it slightly higher, but reading it at this time in DCU history makes it feel just out of sync enough to be confusing.
  • 65


    Black Adam overall is a solid entry with a lot of potential but needs not to rush the story. With everything in this issue, you would think it was a 6-part mini-series, not 12 parts. If they can slow it down and flush out the story, there is a fantastic story. Priest and Sandoval are building something new and unique for Kahndaq and Black Adam, but there is no need to rush and create unneeded confusion.
  • 60

    Weird Science DC Comics

    Look, I love Black Adam, love all the Captain Marvel/Shazam Family mythos but I have to say that this first issue really threw me off with what I'm supposed to know about this Black Adam since he feels so far removed from any Adam that I feel I've ever seen. On top of that, the big point of the story seems to be the heir to Black Adam, and I find his heir to be insufferable at the moment so hopefully that changes since I enjoyed the art in this book and love the character overall.
  • 55

    Multiversity Comics

    With “Black Adam” #1, Priest tells a story that is unerringly, almost painfully current, forcing itself into relevance to a certain era so overtly that it does not merely appear to be of the 2020s, but the 2020s in the world of the reader, rather than that of the DC Universe, including a bunch of references to music and technology from ‘our’ world (like Twitter and WuTang Clan). The fact that these references seem to come a mile-a-minute, and most of them come from a single character, make said character appear to be not amusing, but just obnoxious, with the promise of seeing more of him being one that could give established fans of Black Adam pause or even a sense of dread.
  • 40


    Despite reading about the character for decades, I’ll admit to being a bit lost with Black Adam #1 which takes place before the death of the Justice League (which happened several weeks ago) and features Adam jumping between his super-powered state and into the body of Teth-Adam (who looks pretty damn good for how old it is). As originally conceived, Black Adam couldn’t transform back to Teth as the body would wither away and die. Apparently that’s been “fixed” with modern continuity. While fighting a fake Darkseid, Adam (and later Teth) are infected with some kind of malady that the power of SHAZAM! cannot fix so the anti-hero decides to transfer his powers to a random descendant (despite the wizard being the only one who can bestow such power). This has the Ron Marz lets randomly give one hero’s powers to some dude stink all over it.

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