Black Adam #1 Ushers in a New Era for the DC Villain

The balance of power in the DC Universe is changing.

You know his name. You know what he’s capable of. Black Adam is back in a brand new twelve-issue series and it’s only right Christopher Priest guide this famed villain through a story that might just see him dead. 

Black Adam is a figure that began as a villain for the Shazam Family and beyond. What follows is a history of the character being a corrupted, anti-hero that has no issues with dealing swift and hard justice. Throughout his dabbling in the larger DCU, he’s been positioned as an Anti-Hero that cares about his country of Kahndaq and does what he wants no matter if others see that as crossing a line. Priest is here to reaffirm his roots as a bad guy, that may do good things, just in his own way.

Black Adam

As a political figure, Teth Adam has a unique position in the Superhero Community and Priest uses that to begin our issue. At a hearing, Adam has to suffer through, and boringly discuss, his geopolitical involvement when it comes to Egypt and the surrounding countries. Like his work on Deathstroke, Priest grabs topical or more realistic points to incorporate into the characters he’s handling and Adam is no expectation. Black Adam isn’t the silent type about what he believes is worth his time or how he should act given a time or place. Rafa Sandoval’s art perfectly captures the pompous words that Priest writes for Adam as he speaks with his eyes closed and leans back in front of a Senate Hearing. He quickly dismisses himself after getting his point with facts on the state of things and his voice on the character is perfectly suited as he takes his leave. 

Despite the grand entrance that we’re presented with for Black Adam’s current predicament, ushered in triumphant fashion with Sandoval, Matt Herms coloring, and Willie Schubert’s lettering, the book plays it surprisingly small for the majority of the issue. The splash page that finds Adam facing one of DC’s biggest and baddest villains starts the overarching mystery with the remainder of the book following Adam through a turn, choice, and fallout.

Black Adam

Outside of the fight that we find in the flashback, the opening is light on action, although displayed very well, letting Sandoval flex his cinematic flair for a couple of pages and instead focuses on establishing Adam’s place in the world and a mystery on two fronts. Priest isn’t shying away from Adam’s history as a person that’ll kill someone and when a body close to Adam’s relationship with Kahndaq winds up dead. The connection to the country ties everything together and rightly so.  

It’s here we’re introduced to our deuteragonist. I don’t want to give away every single detail concerning our new character but his charm shines through with Sandoval’s lively art. The story is fairly grounded for a Black Adam story and involves locations and characters populating them, giving Adam a feel of a geopolitical thriller set in the DCU. Priest does a fine job laying the groundwork for our two main characters and understands the uniqueness of Black Adam himself to take on a new position as issues progress.

Black Adam #1 starts our favorite person to hate on a ticking clock of a mission, doubled with a mystery to his newfound dilemma and a new character that’s primed to hold our interest with his usual brand of deconstruction and witty dialogue. Priest and Sandoval showcase why this #1 for one of the meanest and toughest DC anti-heroes (villains?) gives us just enough interesting beats to return for a second issue to sink our teeth into this new shift for Black Adam.

By Terrence Sage

Black pop culture writer that has a way with words, reads comics (a lot), watches movies, and digests music like food.

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