Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Black Adam: The Joys of Sacrifice & Cannibalism

Black Adam: The Dark Age 1 (of 6) (Tomasi & Mahnke).

Black Adam was the most interesting of all the characters in 52, so it's a shame to see what's become of him.

In 52 we saw the transformative power of romantic love, as Teth-Adam's relationship with Isis brought him to new heights of personal joy. More importantly, the political part of the story was crafted to give Adam some standing with the audience - he wasn't the good guy, necessarily, but he had some level of justification for his actions. Combined with the redemptive power of Isis' love Adam's story had a real strength to it - a strength that DC lost when Isis died and Adam went beserk with grief.

It's only gotten worse for Adam. After a brief dip into Countdown to play creepy-guy-in-the-shadows with Mary Marvel, Adam gets his own LS in which he is so determined to get Isis back that he has his followers beat his face to an unrecognizable pulp so he can get back across the Kahdaq border without ID, then has some of his followers sacrifice themselves to assassin's bullets so he can escape, and then eats his final follower's body for strength to climb to the Lazarus Pit where he brings Isis back to life.

Yeah, what part of any of that makes Adam appealing?

I give Tomasi and Mahnke (whose art is as strong as ever) credit for making the story appealing when Adam isn't. I can't root for Adam to succeed because he's crossed too many lines and seeks no redemption, but I can get interested in reading about his exploits, and The Dark Age is a mildly interesting book. The first issue is solid without ever totally pulling me into the story. It clings too much to the surface when the story cries out for depth.

The second issue is supposed to come out tomorrow and I'll give it a look but if that book doesn't improve things I won't be sticking around for the back 2/3 of the series.


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