Review: Black Adam #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira
Color Artist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Reviewed by: Bryant Lucas
Teth Adam wages war with the Akkadian gods while trying to mend his relationship with Malik, in this month’s Black Adam #11.
Adam’s on the warpath against the Akkadian gods, who have caused much mischief for him. The goddess Ishtar possessed Jasmine (Malik’s “not girlfriend”) and kissed Teth Adam just as Malik walked into the room. Needless to say, the young med-student-turned-superhero was not happy to see the 4,600-year-old dictator. He takes the first portal back to Washington DC, but before he leaves, he falls out with Jasmine who has no memory of her kiss with Teth.
Elsewhere, Nergal, the Akkadian god of war, has been stirring up trouble. Black Adam deduced that the deity was responsible for the Sanheoli launching an air strike in support of Kahndaq’s democracy movement. When Black Adam confronts the god of war, Nergal turns into red space dust, and Black Adam inhales him.
Finally, back in Washington DC, Malik’s home is bombed by Sargon the king of the Akkadian gods. The two start duking it out when Black Adam arrives to help Malik against the mad king.
As Priest’s story wraps up, he manages to make his story feel profound. While I’m not sure I can fully explain the intricacies of this issue’s plot, I will say that it left me with a sense that something major is about to happen to Adam. There’s been this echoing theme that’s run through the series: “There is no redemption for Black Adam,” and this phrase is uttered once more by Ibacc in this issue. The narrative of this issue hammers home this idea, as Teth seems to be at odds with everyone. His subjects are in rebellion, his protégé hates him, and a pantheon of gods is at war with him. The crescendo is loud and resounding: Black Adam’s in a lot of trouble, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way out.
For the life of me, I do not understand why Christopher Priest has to make things so friggin complicated. He uses a framing device for this narrative; Teth’s sitting in a Confessional with a Catholic priest in Washington DC, recounting the events of the issue. However, it’s not quite clear if the tale plays out linearly or if Adam’s hopping around in the timeline of events. For example, at one point he confronts Nergal then the narrative shifts to a different confrontation with Ibacc, but somehow inexplicably these two confrontations are connected. Not to mention it’s unclear what happened to him after he inhaled the red space dust, or how he knew that Malik was under attack. Everything in this issue happens willy-nilly with little explanation.
Black Adam has been a series that’s strived for greatness but has often fallen short. This issue is particularly egregious. It wants to be a profound commentary on the nature of redemption, but ultimately it’s just a muddle. In my opinion, it reads as overly pretentious in an attempt to be Avant-garde. The sad thing is that it didn’t have to be this way, as Priest’s themes are fine. If he’d simplify and streamline his storytelling, this series would be a home run. Alas, Priest will be Priest.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment