Justice League of America #7.4 – Black Adam #1
Written by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates
Art by Edgar Salazar, Jay Leisten, and Gabe Eltaeb
The short of it:
Four thousand years ago, a barbarian named Ibac marched his force into Kahndaq and conquered it. The people murdered and enslaved, the capital rebuilt to his desires and demands, crushing all rebellion. Until Black Adam arrived, the savior of Kahndaq who sought vengeance for his family and his people. He crushed Ibac’s forces before turning their leader into a stone statue with his magic and placing it as a warning in the capital city. Or so the story goes, anyway, because in the present a man named Amon is going over the legend with a member of the Sons of Adam, who wants Amon’s help liberating their country. Amon’s sister argues though, as Adrianna would rather use Twitter to spread her message instead of violent revolution, though she’s naive enough to think that her retweets mean anything.
Adrianna sets up her peaceful, candle holding, protest with her friends and the army doesn’t really seem to care. She briefly assumes that her peaceful protesting is working, but then one of Amon’s friends shows up heavily beaten and telling her that Ibac’s men have found the Sons of Adam, and by proxy, Amon. So she rushes after them. Out in the desert, the Sons tell Amon about how Adam returned to them only to be turned to dust, but how Shazam had brought the ashes back and scattered them. There’s a scroll, an ancient text, that they believe has the power to restore their champion to life. He reads the incantation as Adrianna shows up to warn him, but it’s too late as he gets shot in the chest by Ibac’s men. Adrianna has to finish the spell, and cry out the Wizard’s name….and their hero returns.
Black Adam makes short work of the military before going to take on Ibac himself. He crushes the dictator, literally and without mercy. He declares Kahndaq no longer has a ruler, as he is the protector…and then the world goes dark as the Society makes their declarations of the world being theirs.
Black Adam does not agree.
What I liked:
Amon and Adrianna, a brother and sister duo that are clearly the New 52 version of the siblings who would become Osiris and Isis. Words cannot express how happy I am that Amon is already dead and that we won’t have to deal with him as Osiris again. Adrianna as Isis I’d totally be down for, however.
I’m also really glad that neither wound up becoming the human body that switches places with him when he says Shazam!
Black Adam is brutal, as he should be. In the New 52 he has lost none of edge but has gained a badass hooded cape.
He’s not a bad guy! It would have been so simple to have him impose his will completely and go all Sinestro on Kahndaq, but instead he expresses his hatred for those who would claim ownership of the world. He’s setting up to be a top tier gray area character, someone that the heroes might oppose the methods of, but that the villains may actually fear.
Geoff and Sterling are both great writers, and I am REALLY happy to see Sterling get more work recently. He scripts over a story that they co-wrote, and it feels like the perfect next step out of what we saw in Justice League.
For the most part I liked the art in this issue, Salazar and company don’t try to emulate Gary Frank (who has handled pretty much all things Shazam in the New 52), but instead give us their own take. It’s not very cartoony, and the violence is pretty well handled.
What I didn’t like:
I know it might get old to look at after a while, since nobody in this book is speaking English, but I would have liked the little brackets and a note somewhere saying “This entire language translated from Kahndaqi”. It would have been a nice touch. Total personal pet peeve.
The Amon and Adrianna stuff was a bit too long given how it fizzled out at the end. What are the odds that we see Adrianna in the Sons of Adam again? I mean, what purpose would the group even have with Black Adam there and in charge?
The downside to the art is that some of the faces, and most of the eyes, just look weird.
I’ve thought this a few times since Villains Month launched, but why is Black Adam a Justice League of America one shot? Are they going to be going up against him soon? Were there already too many issues coming out under Justice League? The Secret Society would have made more sense since Outsider debuted in JLA.
I want them to call him Teth Adam again.
Amon is translating something that features words he’s never seen before and doesn’t miss a beat. Um, what?
Man, everyone in the desert has a fantastic internet connection.
I love Black Adam, and I have for a while, and I’m so glad that his return to DC has been so well handled. After his sloppy write out from comics before the relaunch I had been hoping that he would just be sat on until a time when a writer wanted to give him some respect, and here it is. Geoff Johns brought back the same version of Adam that he had crafted over the years in JSA, with more of an edge (if nothing else).
So does Adam have a human form anymore? The reason he ‘died’ was that he changed back and the body turned to ash, and now he’s not ash anymore, but is that body back? Is he always Black Adam? Please let him always be Black Adam!
It’s intriguing how many of these Villains Month issues end with their lead character not being thrilled with the Societies message.
Tags: Black Adam, DC Comics, forever evil, Geoff Johns, Justice League of America, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Sterling Gates, Villains Month