Black Adam: The Dark Age

I recently happened across this book at a local (read: small) con (read: collection of people hoping to unload inventory in this economy) and thought I'd give it a go for half cover price. I never really drank the black Kool-Aid with the "reclamation" of Black Adam. His war for Kahndaq in "Black Reign" showed just how determined (read: ruthless) he could be in imposing his will upon others. I will admit, I knew what I was getting into (or thought I knew) with this book, however, as I read and beat the living hell out of a copy of issue #3 with the slobber-knocker scrap with Hawkman. Great stuff that was.

This is one of Tomasi's first writing gigs, crafting the tale of a character he oversaw as editor. For all the despair and dread Black Adam (may I call you Teth?) instills, this tale is a love story at its very core. It is the adventures of one man beset with bringing about the impossible resurrection of his deceased wife. Oh, did I mention that Felix Faust is the antagonist in the story with the ability to bring Isis back?

The book is everything you would expect and much, much more. A collection of six issues, the story traverses Earth as Adam must find pieces of the amulet that empowered Isis. A wanted man, Adam must find the pieces but remain hidden. All the while he is searching for his magic word, changed by Captain Marvel during the close of World War III.

Mahnke turns in the work of his career, in my opinion. This is a character that Mahnke grabs a hold of, makes his own, and forces to grow. While Mahnke has always been a formidable artist, this story allows him to work without pressing restraints. Black Adam is a character left to a certain degree of interpretation. Mahnke interprets Teth Adam into the language of cool. Gritty when he needs to be and polished when it suits the story, Mahnke is the comic artist equivalent of Stevie Ray Vaughan, able to channel the masters and the classics, all the while making the end result his very own. It befuddles me as to how Mahnke wasn't first in line to handle the artistic chores for "Final Crisis," but maybe that oversight will be corrected with DC's next mega-event.

The book feels a little thin, but it weighs in at six issues, which, if you could retrieve them for cover price would run about the same price as this package. Good luck finding all six issues in one drop though. I'm very glad I took the chance on this, and having read it, would gladly pay cover price to replace this book, should anything happen to the copy I own.

Love stories don't always have to be mushy and this one certainly isn't. To add a little more incentive for you to consider tracking this book down, the current "Justice Society of America" storyline draws its roots from this book.

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