Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Renato Guedes
Colors: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
What They Say:
Kahndaq, like every other country on Earth, suffered a similar fate in the early moments the Anti-Life Equation plague. Black Adam, however, had a very different response then the heroes of the Justice League!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The whole DCeased property really appeals to me in a big way much like Injustice did once it truly got rolling. Carving out an extended Elseworld’s story, you’re really able to tackle characters in a way you can’t in mainstream continuity and Tom Taylor really gets these characters in a big way. Watching as he works them is really engaging and spending a full installment with Black Adam works well. This issue brings in Renato Guedes on the artwork and that’s a very different style than Dustin Nguyen on the first, but I love the style of blending going on here and how Rex Lokus’ color design really accentuates and highlights the great stuff coming out of Guedes. It’s got a good sense of power and intensity about it as it needs it but also the worn and scared sides we’re seeing of some of the characters here.
With the virus spreading and seeing it impacting in different ways in this series, the focus on how it hit Khandaq is definitely interesting. Black Adam is able to slow it down fast by turning off the internet in his country with the snap of his fingers and that does ease things. But his methods beyond that are brutal and what you’d expect out of a dictator looking at just the big picture. When he’s flying about eliminating the infected, the only thing to do, he doesn’t try to save anyone along the way and in fact kills many because of how close they are to the infected. He has the lowest infection rate but the death rate is spiking incredibly hard because of it. And, naturally, his people are fearful of him even as he saves them. It’s an obviously mixed bag.
While this isn’t a good thing and it’s an unknown to the rest of the world, what people do see is a country where there’s a chance to seek refuge. Even having the JLA surviving members going there to seek help from Black Adam with their survivors is a big step when you really think about it, though everyone pretty falls into traditional roles here. It doesn’t devolve into a fight or anything but the old rivalries and Adam’s view of his position and his people continues to keep him separate. It plays out well, as does his going among the people to try and get a feel for things as it’s something he’s done before. But you knew the minute he took off the Black Adam mantle that he was doomed and that Khandaq must fall because of it. It’s the hubris, like always, with him.
The exploration of events in Khandaq plays well and I like that we’re seeing more of the early hours of the event and just how bad things are going in different places and with different people. The original series could cover only so much so giving Taylor a chance to expand his sandbox is definitely a big plus. I really liked what Renato Guedes brought to the book with the artwork and style of it and just how smoothly Lokus took it to the next level. It’s a solid read as I always enjoy seeing how Black Adam tries to do his best for Khandaq but invariably gets it wrong in some fundamental way.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology and Amazon Kindle
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020