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Don’t Miss This: “Black Adam” by Christopher Priest and Rafa Sandoval

By | September 22nd, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we’re spotlighting “Black Adam” right in advance of the upcoming film. DC’s newest Black Adam series is a fascinating exploration into the life of Gods of mortals alike. Find out why you can’t miss the latest adventures of Teth-Adam in our Don’t Miss This for DC’s newest “Black Adam” series!

Who’s this by?

“Black Adam” is written by Christopher Priest. Priest has had an incredibly long-running career in comics spanning multiple decades. Recently, Priest wrote the long “Deathstroke” comic at DC with artist Carlo Pagulayan. Pagulayan and Priest dug deep into Slade Wilson, examining his infidelities, betrayals and tendency towards violence. Priest wrote Wilson as an anti-hero as opposed to a hero. Priest recently returned to Marvel with “Inhumans: Once and Future Kings” with artist Phil Noto. Priest also recently returned to Quantum and Woody with artist MD Bright for “Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody!”

Rafa Sandoval is an incredibly accomplished artist at DC Comics. Sandoval’s credits over the years include “Wonder Woman” with writer Mariko Tamaki. Sandoval also worked extensively with author Robert Venditti on “Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.” One of the biggest works from Sandoval recently at DC Comics is “Justice League” #75 from DC Comics written by Joshua Williamson. “Justice League” #75 was an incredible moment for Sandoval that was focused on establishing some of the elements of DC’s huge “Dark Crisis” event. In all his work, Sandoval has delivered incredibly beautiful art that really streamlines the modern DC style.

What’s it all about?

“Black Adam” is about the hero Teth-Adam realize that he is dying. Adam scours the globe for his successor. Malik White is a young medical student that has a whip-smart sense of humor. White is also descendent of Teth-Adam. Adam is working on training White to take over his role and be able to right some of the wrongs he made earlier in his career.

What makes it so great? 

Despite the fact that a high budget “Black Adam” movie is coming soon to theaters, this new “Black Adam” comic book series feels very personal. Priest continues to add a personal touch to his stories with title panels that serve as an intermission to punctuate the humor from several jokes. Priest adds lots of humor to his “Black Adam” scripts, utilizing his successor Malik white and Yigal Blaustein to really spin some unconventional humor. “Black Adam” is utilized particularly well in a morose context. There’s a scene in the first issue where White has to treat a white supremacist in the local hospital where he works. White helps his patient but serves up a few off-color jokes along the way.

Sandoval’s art is essential to the writing here. “Black Adam” is a really dense comic book filled with nuanced jokes. Sandoval’s art has a natural element of clarity that blends really well with the non-traditional scripts from Priest. The series opens with Teth-Adam in a Senate building at Washington, DC. Adam is striking a dramatic pose and his perfect head of hair is incredibly detailed. The scene looks so clear at the opening despite the fact that this is a complicated scene establishing the setting world of the series at large. Sandoval is incredibly good at drawing motion despite the fact that comic books are a static medium. Sandoval’s art arguably comes alive the most in the framing device that seemingly takes place on another planet. There’s a lot of movement and beautiful effects between these fights that makes them some of the most engaging aspects of the issue to look at. However, Sandoval does a great job switching gears when Malik and Adam return to Kahndaq and the color palette changes.

Priest strongly establishes the relationship between Adam and White as the title progresses. The two feel a big generational gap towards the beginning of the series. Adam is very kind to White but he puts up a front at first towards Adam. Yigal has also started to grow attached to White. Priest writes these relationships with an incredible amount of subtlety. There’s several moments here where White fires off a joke instead of telling people about how he actually feels about the scene. The plotting for the title has drawn some interesting comparisons as there are moments where both Adam and White find themselves circling an intense level of violence.

Continued below

White’s most recent run-in with Etrigan was another moment in the series that uses a DC Comics cast of characters really well. Martian Manhunter appears in the first chapter of the series for a brief cameo. There are so many fascinating cameos spread throughout the series. Priest does a strong job in the scripts of tying these moments into the main series. It’s more interesting that Manhunter shows up in a political setting due to his deep interest in political issues. Priest’s scripts are so dense in the series that I wouldn’t recommend “Black Adam” to your average reader. The scripts of “Black Adam” demand all the attention of the reader but can really deliver great humor and strong payoff as the series progresses.

How can you read it?

You can purchase “Black Adam” monthly from DC Comics wherever finer issues are sold. The first collection of the series titled “Black Adam Vol. 1” is slated for release May 16, 2023. Do not miss this comic book series!


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Alexander Jones

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