Smack dab in the middle if 52 is DC: World War III, a detailed account of the battle that raged between Black Adam and virtually every other superhero on the planet. As discussed in my 52: Vol. 4 post, Black Adam is distraught over the deaths of Osiris and Isis, and he decides the world must pay for what it’s done. He hunts down and destroys the scientists on Oolong Island, those who released the Four Horsemen onto the earth. He then proceeds to tear across the planet, destroying anyone who stands in his way.
Truth be told, I didn’t love this comic. It’s a lot of battles filled with action and appearances by any number of heroes, but I was never really drawn into the story. Black Adam kills a few heroes, as well as millions of innocent people, before facing off against Captain Marvel.
Marvel asks the Egyptian gods (who provide Black Adam with his powers) to rescind those powers so that Adam can be stopped. They refuse, and so Captain Marvel does the next best thing:
He changes Black Adam’s word for summoning his powers, and vows to never reveal that word to another living soul. Black Adam is now doomed to walk the earth as nothing more than a man. Of course, I’m sure in due time he will rediscover the magic word in some way, and once again adopt his godlike persona. Until then, it seems Black Adam will be fading off into comic obscurity until he’s called upon again.
This last key event takes place in 52, and is just a single issue of the series reprinted within the World War III comic. Truth be told I didn’t really care too much for this story. I got most of the information from 52, with this comic just fleshing out the battle scenes between Black Adam and the remaining superheroes. I suppose there was supposed to be a heightened sense of drama to the story: how can Black Adam be stopped when Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are out of commission? For one thing, I can’t help but question how Wonder Woman would choose to sit this out. Batman has shed the Batman persona (and how much help could he really be against a god?) and Superman is currently powerless. Wonder Woman though? Would she really sit idly by while World War III erupts around her, doing nothing to intervene? I find that a little tough to swallow. Alas, that’s the way the comic went, since it tied into the core three being out of the picture. It just felt unrealistic, and left me thinking the story could have gone a different way. As it stands, this was a fair way to wrap up Black Adam’s storyline, but I don’t consider it to be a perfect bit of storytelling, and much prefer Black Adam’s appearances in the 52 series over this.