Review: Black Adam #8
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Montos
Color Artist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Reviewed by: Bryant Lucas
Teth Adam tells of his early days as the Wizard’s champion as Malik lies in a coma, in this month’s Black Adam #8.
Now in Khandaq, Black Adam saves a passenger plane from crashing, but this causes an uproar among the people. The locals are angry with Adam because he had earlier destroyed a fighter jet that belonged to the local rebels. The citizens are now ready to overthrow him as they see him as a hypocritical superhero dictator.
Meanwhile, Malik is now at Adam’s palace in Khandaq receiving medical attention. Black Adam’s feeling guilty about infecting Malik with a deadly cosmic virus and is staying by his bedside. To distract Malik from his pain, Adam starts telling him a story from his past:
Teth Adam used to serve the ancient Pharaohs and was content with his job until he started working for Pharaoh Teti. Teth describes Teti as an incompetent ruler who would assign him absurd tasks like fetching grapes from a neighboring kingdom. Frustrated with Teti’s arrogance, Teth kills him and becomes the new ruler.
In the meantime, the ancient Mesopotamian gods arrive in Washington DC, looking for Adam.
Black Adam is a character with many layers and the latest issue delves deep into his complexity. He possesses both noble and arrogant traits, and Priest’s storytelling effectively explores the tension between them. The story reveals that Teth Adam was tricked into assassinating the Pharoh by Merreruka, a vizier who knew about Adam’s history and took advantage of his guilt.
Despite committing regicide and overthrowing a corrupt ruler, Adam seeks redemption and declares himself the new ruler of Egypt. This situation creates irony as Adam strives to be a fair leader, while at the same time, he has committed a gruesome murder. His motivations are intricate, and his morality seems fundamentally flawed.
Black Adam’s storyline is difficult to follow from the beginning, due to Priest’s habit of jumping around from subplot to subplot. As a result, the story lacks focus. In one moment, Black Adam is fighting ancient Mesopotamian gods, and then suddenly he’s battling Batman in a VR simulation.
The plot also includes Malik’s encounter with Etrigan the rhyming demon and subsequent entrapment in the mirror dimension with Mirror Master, before being taken to Kahndaq where Adam shares a story about his time in ancient Egypt. These plot points occur over 8 issues, each of which could have been a story arc for another writer. Reading Black Adam often feels like trying to drink from a fire hose, making it a very overwhelming experience.
As Black Adam #8 marks the beginning of Priest’s end game (with the series ending at issue 12), he’s trying his best to fit everything into the remaining issues. However, this creates a conflict within the series. Although Priest is a great writer with intriguing concepts, he doesn’t have enough space to execute them well. In fact, there’s enough material in the first eight issues to fill about 30 issues if each storyline was given the traditional six-issue arc.
Overall, this issue, like the series, is good… it’s just a lot.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment