Review: Black Adam #12
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira
Color Artist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Reviewed by: Bryant Lucas
Sargon has possessed Black Adam and Bolt is the only hero who can stop him from destroying Khandaq, in this month’s Black Adam #12.
Sargon, has used a magical mask infused with his AI to possess the body of Teth Adam. After doing so, he flies from Washington DC to Khandaq to purify the country to recreate Akkadia. Malik watches all of this unfold and doesn’t know how to respond. Luckily, Sargon the Sorcerer had pushed Black Adam into a metaphysical state when he took control of his body. Now, Ghost Adam, who’s somehow able to telepathically communicate with Malik, tells the younger hero he must confront Sargon before the villain destroys Khandaq.
Bolt (Malik’s chosen superhero name) hunts down Stanly, Ibac’s human host, and borrows his whip, which can transform Black Adam. he young hero then uses the weapon to trigger the transformation. Sargon’s mask falls off Teth Adam who’s now simply human. The mask is then teleported into space using Black Adam’s stolen Justice League transporter. Black Adam and Teth Adam then confront each other; however, Teth refuses to re-merge with his other half. He decides to remain human, so Black Adam returns to Khandaq to take his place as ruler once again.
Christopher Priest had some really cool ideas in this series. I love Malik’s character, and I like the idea of him potentially sticking around now that the series has ended. The writer’s themes around redemption and divinity were interesting, and utilizing a largely unknown pantheon of gods as antagonists was a cool twist.
Having Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira on art was an excellent choice. Barrows is a tremendous storyteller and when his work’s inked by Ferreira, the results are always tremendous. Both artists did a bang-up job. Black Adam as a series has all the hallmarks of what should be a good comic book series. The colors and letters on the entire run have also been top level.
In my opinion, this series just didn’t work. Both Black Adam #12, and the run as a whole, were lackluster. I know that may seem harsh, and believe me, I really wanted to like this book. Black Adam is one of my favorite characters, but I have to admit that this maxi-series was incredibly clunky.
Priest is an excellent writer who’s both smart and well-read; however, in this case, I feel like he could have used more editorial oversight. Black Adam was bloated; there were way too many plotlines that didn’t feel very well connected. In fact, there were so many weird moments in this series that I don’t think I could easily summarize these 12 issues if I wanted to. I don’t know if this had to do with the book’s transition from an ongoing series to a mini-series, but it felt like Priest had WAY too many ideas for his allotted page count.
Also, he didn’t do a very good job reminding readers what occurred from issue to issue. He would often introduce new characters in one issue, barely mentioning them if at all for a few issues, only for them to reappear again months later. Comics are a serialized art-form. I read this story, amongst many others, over the course of an entire year, and Priest is expecting me to remember new characters, arcane lore, and obscure plot points as if I were reading this series in one sitting. It created a disjointed reading experience that felt impenetrable at times. Perhaps it’ll work better as a collected edition.
Black Adam #12, like the series as a whole, was a wasted opportunity. The ending of this story left me scratching my head, as I was left unsure as to exactly what had transpired. Overall, the series really disappointed me, as DC missed an incredible opportunity to introduce Black Adam to the masses.
Warner Bros. had one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars playing the titular character in a movie during the tenure of this title, but I can’t imagine someone picking up this title after seeing the film and walking away jazzed about the character.
Black Adam has a long and fascinating history as a character. He’s been the arch nemesis of SHAZAM, a member of both the Justice League and Justice Society, and the ruler of a nation-state. The character’s both complicated and nuanced, so I understand why Priest would want to do a deep dive into the his lore and psychology. However, it feels like he got lost in the sauce.
When I explained the ending to my editor, his response was perfect: “Blimey, that’s spaghetti junction.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment