“I am not a hero, I’m a god.” Who is Black Adam? His power and his very life draining from him, Theo Teth-Adam is confronted by a specter from his past haunting him with the treachery he employed to gain his powers and forcing him to confront an inescapable truth: there is no redemption for Black Adam.
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DC Comics NewsPriest and the rest of the creative team for Black Adam #2 once again brought their A-game. The book looks beautiful and it reads like a “smart man’s comic”. Priest writes with a sense of purpose and direction and it’s obvious he’s got a plan. Frankly, I’m completely on board for the ride.
AIPTThis is a superhero story without all the pompous mess; a thriller with ample heart; and an HBO-esque drama with some comic book-style silliness. It’s a damn good story, and you’d be wise to join the fray before things truly take off.
Geek DadWhenever Priest takes on a new property, it’s impossible to know what to expect. After all, he took Deathstroke’s usual shoot-em-up style and transformed it into a prestige family drama. Now he turns his attention to DC’s most prominent antihero of the moment, Black Adam. The Khandaq leader is currently reluctantly leading the Justice League over in Dark Crisis, so naturally, Priest’s approach to this new series is… to kill him? When we last left off, Adam had been infected with some sort of toxin by a battle with something that looked like Darkseid, and had apparently chosen a young medical student named Malik White as his new heir. Flashbacks show that some of Adam’s worst actions—including the murder of his nephew—are still in continuity, and he’s been trying to redeem himself for them for thousands of years while knowing that may ultimately be beyond his reach. He actually plays a relatively small role in this issue, with Malik taking on a larger one as he’s essentially pulled out of his life to minister to a dying Adam and take on his power. And when Black Adam asks you to take on his power, he’s probably not taking no for an answer. Things escalate in a hurry for Malik as he’s essentially forced into becoming something he doesn’t want to be, with some great lampshading of the whole situation. This is a very good issue, but it also feels like this isn’t actually going to be a Black Adam series—and the ending indicates this may be completely out of continuity. I’m not sure how this will go over, but Priest has earned my trust many times over on DC stuff. Two issues in, the story has taken multiple left-field terms that leave it feeling completely unpredictable. That makes it a mixed bag, but also one of the most fascinating books in DC’s lineup right now.
Multiversity ComicsIt is very interesting how reminiscent Christopher Priest’s “Black Adam” is of Christopher Priest’s “Black Panther”. That’s by no means a bad thing, Priest’s critically acclaimed “Black Panther” run redefined the character, there are much worse comics to be compared to. Still, the similarities cannot be denied. We have political intrigue, the business of running a nation, secret back alley meetings with intelligence officers. Out of order storytelling that offers as many questions as it does answers. The book doesn’t aim to fire joke after joke like a Deadpool comic but Priest’s dry humor is good all the same. Black Adam christening his successor “White Adam” was a hilarious bit for sure. There is also the fish out of water character and audience surrogate. In “Black Panther”, it was Everett Ross. Here we have Malik. The likable character isn’t performing or as big of a ham as he was in the first issue but is still hilarious, as are the strange circumstances he finds himself in. While a great deal of focus is given to Malik, Priest gives the titular character plenty of the spotlight as well. The writer paints a clear picture of a villain who has realized he’s the bad guy a couple centuries too late. Theo Teth-Adam is literally haunted by his past sins. He’s so guilty he follows a ghost and flies across the galaxy into a clear trap. He’s so desperate to wipe the slate clean, he forces Malik to take the power by gunpoint. The artwork is definitely solid as well. This is a bright, colorful comic filled with epic superhero action. Though we only see a glimpse of the fight between Black Adam and Darkseid, it looks epic, clearly a battle between titans. You can feel Black Adam’s power as he easily flies out of Earth’s orbit and leaves our galaxy. Sandoval’s expressions are great as well, especially on Malik. You can see the character processing the ridiculousness he’s going through, sometimes with slack jawed shock, sometimes with a skeptical raised eyebrow. This is all tied together with Herms’ brilliant colors. From the slight coldness of space to the bright lighting of Black Adam’s place or even the pristine white of Malik’s magic costume, it all comes together well. There may be no redemption for Black Adam but his journey is a fun ride all the same.
ComicBook.comPriest's non-chronological approach to storytelling creates space to consider the meaning and ramifications of Black Adam's cliffhanger decision from Black Adam #1 before addressing the moment itself. Flashbacks and contemporaneous conversations make clear this is a story about history, geopolitical power, and whether change is possible within those titanic forces. Even within the fictional framework of Khandaq, Priest is sure to draw in elements of Middle Eastern history as the narrative addresses military alignments between very real nations and the United States' deeply troubled history of influencing the region. Those unfamiliar won't be lost, but those with some knowledge will be drawn even further into the essential questions being asked. There's still some big action injected into many fraught conversations, including another very impressive spread of Black Adam and Darkseid. Yet Sandoval's most impressive panels in Black Adam #2 are focused on the anti-hero's successor responding to his own identity and values. Malik's story reflects tragedies from Black Adam's own and their reflection of one another is fascinating within this setting. Wherever Black Adam is heading, it's clear this story respects its' readers' intelligence and is well positioned to keep them thinking.
Comic WatchChristopher Priest takes some big narrative gambles in Black Adam #2, ones that will have readers checking for the release date of the maxi-series third issue. If the authors decisions have some readers apprehensive about the future of Black Adam, they can take solace in the fact that his sprawling Deathstroke run is one of the best antihero tales ever told. Through two issues, Black Adam is no guarantee for similar results, but has planted the seeds for what should be a memorable story.
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The Comicbook DispatchBlack Adam #2 has some major developments that will impact at least the next few issues. The new character Malik is a fun character to read, a brilliant young medical student who refuses to take any garbage from anyone. I only hope he encounters Batman in the future and gives Batman an earful of attitude. That would be fun to see!
Weird Science DC ComicsWhile I'm not loving this series yet.... or as much as I wanted to when it was announced, there is still room to improve from what we get this issue and the idea that maybe our new character Malik may not be as annoying going forward...... maybe, which is a win for me. The art is great and I'm intrigued by some things in this issue, even though there isn't a lot going on in this issue overall.