Review: Black Adam #10
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artists: Jose Luis, Montos, Jonas Trindade
Color Artist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Reviewed by: Bryant Lucas
Malik is back on his feet and ready to rumble, as Teth Adam confronts his former slaver in this month’s Black Adam #10.
Last issue, Oni Grace promised to bring Ibac to Adam, and in this chapter, she delivers on that promise. She presents Black Adam with a child who bears the curse of crows and is the vessel for Ibac. Meanwhile, the Assyrian gods continue to plot against Adam. Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of love, possesses Jasmine, Malik’s “not-girlfriend”. Ishtar then attempts to seduce the newly depowered Teth Adam, making Malik jealous.
Priest does a great job exploring Black Adam’s character in this issue. There’s a fascinating exchange between Malik and Teth, where he asks Adam, “Why do you take the subway”? Teth’s response is fascinating, as he flashes back to a time when he was driving in Washington DC and two racist cops stop him. They pull him out of his car, cuff him, and tell him that “Arabs aren’t welcome in this part of town.” Teth confesses to Malik was scared. Puzzled by this response, Malik presses him to explain. Teth says that immortality is a burden and that sometimes he craves normal human experiences – even negative ones.
Since the 2000s there has been a concerted effort to make Black Adam a more complex character. Once upon a time, he was simply “anti-Captain Marvel”. The classic arch-nemesis who’s simply an evil version of the hero in a color-shifted costume. However, starting with Geoff Johns’s work on the character in JSA, DC has reworked the character into something far more complicated and nuanced. Priest really leans into this complexity of character, as highlighted in this issue.
Priest has way too many balls in the air. Between Malik, Oni Grace, Ibac, the protestors, and the Assyrian gods, this title is all over the place. There are two more issues left in the series, and I cannot fathom how Priest is going to resolve all of these storylines. Seriously, reading this title is like drinking from a fire hydrant, it’s simply too much. Had Priest rearranged his narrative structure to focus on each of these storylines in isolation, then maybe he could have made the story flow. However, reading this month-to-month has been a taxing experience. It’s too easy to lose the main plot threads.
As Black Adam enters into its last phase, I can’t help but feel a certain level of anxiety around the last few issues. There’s a lot to love about this series. It’s chock-full of cool ideas and interesting character moments. I’m simply afraid that Priest won’t be able to deliver a satisfying, cohesive ending with only two issues left. Black Adam #10, in many ways, is emblematic of the series: there’s a lot going on, and none of it feels very cohesive as a narrative.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment