Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Year of the Villain: Black Adam #1 Review

Master of None

Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Inaki Miranda, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 23, 2019

These Year of the Villain one-shots have been mostly a miss for me, but I will never turn down a Black Adam/Shazam issue no matter what it's attached to.  We really don't get enough Black Adam nowadays and with the Shazam! book stuck in the now usual Geoff Johns delay spin cycle, he and Shazam are on the backburner a bit...until now!  So, is this Year of the Villain issue costarring one of the Infected's Secret Six any good?  Let's find out... 

There is a whole lot going on in this story.  Sure, Paul Jenkins gives readers familiar with Black Adam most of the standard tropes; Kahndaq is great, Black Adam is a tough but fair leader who loves his people and Shazam is going to stop Black Adam from some evil plan... well, that there is the tweest of it all.  Black Adam is the good guy here since Shazam is infected and acting like a real ass.

The issue opens with Black Adam meditating and pretty much spoiling the ending of the issue before hearing his people want more freedom.  He isn't hearing all of that at the moment and pretty quickly, the book shifts into high gear with the arrival of Shazam.  Like I said, he's a real ass and while he played his whole revert back to Billy schtick with Superman in the Batman/Superman book, here he just goes to town on Black Adam, talking shit the whole time.

I laughed a bit at first with Shazam trying to convince everyone that he had arrived with to free them with their best interests at heart, but it did get old mainly because not once did I think he either meant it or would achieve it.  It didn't really piss Black Adam off that much either, so it felt like filler dialogue by the end.

I said above that this book had a whole lot going on, but unfortunately, it wasn't really in the story department.  It felt like Paul Jenkins was here to give a one issue lesson on Black Adam, all the way down to a very forced rundown of his magic word and the gods who make it up.  Why I said it is because of the name dropping...Lex's Year of the Villain, the Infected and Leviathan all get some play here and while I like a connected Universe as much as some and way more than others, I need story and plot to go with the connections.  I'm surprised that Jenkins didn't throw a Doomsday Clock reference at us as well.

With all this going on, we get Black Adam doing his best Rocky impersonation as he gets the crap kicked out of him until sunrise and then the tables turn.  The turnaround is forced and a little eye-rolling, but it does go well with Black Adam and he even learned a lesson from it.  The issue ends with Shazam flying off with his tail between his legs and Black Adam promising to be a better leader and maybe even a friend.  Nope!  He'll just be a better leader!

This is a tough one to rate since there was nothing really inherently wrong with the issue except that it was hardly a Year of the Villain issue.  I guess that is pretty wrong!  Nobody here gets an offer and Lex is only mentioned along with Leviathan and everything else going on.  Paul Jenkins does a good job giving readers a feel of who Black Adam is and what Shazam has become, but that Year of the Villain in the title should mean more, especially as this is a one-shot for that story.

Inaki Miranda's art is as good as usual and his style fits Black Adam well.  He centers on Black Adam and Shazam letting them dominate each panel as they should because, you know, they are both awesome!

Bits and Pieces:

This is one of those issues that is going to be looked at differently depending on what you want out of it.  If you are looking for an offer or anything Year of the Villain related besides a Lex Luthor mention, you will be disappointed.  If you are looking to get more Black Adam in your life (and who isn't?) and some infected Shazam to boot, you should check this out.  I have to take points off since "Year of the Villain" is in the title, but I still had a good time with this issue.


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