Monday, March 29, 2010

Black Adam: The Dark Age #6 (March, 2008)

After collecting the last piece of an amulet meant to restore Isis to life, Black Adam waded through yet more black ops troopers, painting the arctic ice red with their blood. While gloating at the massacre, Black Adam was shot by one of the wounded with an "Eternity Bullet," which could penetrate even the flesh of a "god." To evade helicopters and deal with his injury, Black Adam dove into the frigid waters, removed the bullet with his bare hands, fed it to a seal, and escaped the scene. Meanwhile, a cooperative of the Justice Society of America and Justice League of America (featuring Martian Manhunter yet again) could not detect Black Adam, but accepted the arrest of the black operatives as a consolation prize. This final setback caused the operation's financiers to give up their pursuit.

While wandering the streets of Fawcett City, Teth-Adam continued reciting whatever words he encountered in hopes of stumbling upon the magic word denied him by Captain Marvel. Stopping at Frank's Soda Fountain, Teth-Adam ordered what a young patron was having, "one of these... Chocolate Egg Creams." Suddenly, the mystical lightning of ancient Egyptian gods struck Teth-Adam, restoring Black Adam to his full grandeur. "Ah, Billy. Always the boy."

In Salem, Massachusetts, Felix Faust had taken up residence in the tower of Doctor Fate while casting a spell over Isis' remains. All the fine details were worked out, but Isis could not be resurrected. Black Adam was furious, but Faust explained that Isis remained dead because Adam had exhausted the magic within her bones with the abuse of his powers over the course of the mini-series. Black Adam left Faust trapped in the tower, after having been tricked into believing Isis' spirit has possessed Faust in order to condemn Black Adam's failure.

In truth, the bones Faust briefly reanimated were Ralph Dibny's. "It was the least you could do after helping to imprison me here." Faust resurrected Isis' bodily, though she seemed a bit of a mindless drone, and used her power to escape Fate's tower.

Black Adam went to live in the Kahndaq Embassy under Gotham City, so he could moan and slam his face into walls.

By Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy.


mathematicscore said...

I enjoy Tomasi's considering the larger DCU. MM's thing for so long was being in the JLA, so when he wasn't around, not even in the background, it felt silly. Tomasi gets my vote for most things.

LissBirds said...

"Black Adam was shot by one of the wounded with an "Eternity Bullet," which could penetrate even the flesh of a "god."

*world's biggest eyeroll*

Are you sure Grant Morrison didn't write this?

"Teth-Adam ordered what a young patron was having, "one of these... Chocolate Egg Creams."

Oh, come on! Couldn't Captain Marvel make up a word or at least pick an obscure one? They obviously lifted this right out of that Animaniacs episode when The Brain gives a post-hypnotic suggestion to some guy with the key word being "repugnant" and then of course the guy hears the word "repugnant" out in public and goes on a rampage.

Diabolu Frank said...

Liss, I assume the bullet had something to do with the Rock of Eternity, which I mention because when I started typing I thought that might make sense, but it still doesn't. It's just inherently stupid to shoot magic with a bullet, unless your whole point is to prove the worthlessness of mysticism. Since the character and series pivots on the value of mystical power, it's self-contradictory. "He shot god... with a bullet. That's cool. Huh-heh. Heh-heh. Cool."

"They obviously lifted this right out of that Animaniacs episode..."

Isn't it "ironic," don't 'cha think? A little too "ironic," and yeah I really do think...

M.C. Tomasi was another guy I appreciated for just that, going "hey, Martian Manhunter should be here." What sticks in my craw is that between his editing the Ostrander series and his odd outings with the character over the years, I don't think Tomasi quite "gets" J'Onn J'Onzz. He's obviously interested in the character, but he can't seem to wrap his brain around the concept, or else is only interested in imposing his own interpretation.

mathematicscore said...

I dunno, I've not read the showcase stuff, but rather enjoyed Requiem (not sharing your total aversion to the ongoing) and have really been digging his GL Corp work. While his editing was cleary a presence, I feel the Ostrander/Mandrake team were the main sources of weakness. Their work on Spectre and Batman both share the same brooding grossness that soured their manhunter work.

The eternity bullet makes sense in the fight magic with magic theory. I rather like "magic as undiscovered science," not being one to enjoy uncertainty without end. And I thought Chocolate Egg Creme excellent. I mean, changing it to kblarglfznp would make more sense, but where's the fun in that?

Diabolu Frank said...

MC, I like your observation about "magic as undiscovered science." The gratuitous nature of comic book magic has really ruined its use for a lot of readers. I just find it objectionable that the answer to arcane mysticism is something just shy of mindless brute force. Bullets are better defined than spells, but their unimaginative overuse hurts my appreciation. Between this and Bendis at Marvel, the answer to bad magic writing seems to be dragging it into the gutter and "demystifying" it into a joke. Can't we just figure out a way to show that magic isn't a limitless supply of deus ex machina? Like a Spawn-O-Meter or something?

I think I've enjoyed all of Tomasi's Martian Manhunter stories, but there's something "off" about most of them, as well. The excessive violence of the cop serial killer story from Showcase popped up in Ostrander's series, and Tomasi ignored pretty much any J'Onn J'Onzz material not represented in the book he edited while eulogizing the character in Requiem. I think my main problem is that J'Onn's got a strong humanist streak in his best stories, while everything Tomasi writes is too cynical to capture that sort of idealism. Also, I've read a trade and several random issues of Tomasi GLC, and it wasn't my bag, despite being fond of Guy (& Mongul.)

will_in_chicago said...

If only the Big Red Cheese had thought to make the new magic word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! It might have taken Black Adam years to get the reference -- although perhaps the threat of a lawsuit from Disney might have been more frightening than the damage that Black Adam caused.