What happens when an already unstable godlike entity goes completely off the deep end and tries to bring his lady love back to life? That’s the question that Black Adam: The Dark Age answers. Adam tries to deal with losing his powers (Captain Marvel having conveniently changed his magic word, vowing to never tell Adam what it is), while also concocting a rather ingenious plan to bring back his dead love, Isis. Followed by a score of loyal followers, Adam steals Isis’s remains from their final resting place.
He then takes them to a Lazarus pit, hoping the pit’s magic will be enough to revive her. It works, but only momentarily, and so Adam must find another means of bringing Isis back. Enter Faust, the villain who was trapped in Doctor Fate’s tower at the end of 52. Faust says he can help revive Isis, but that Adam must retrieve the shattered pieces of Isis’s amulet to do so. He imbues Adam with the ability to draw upon Isis’s latent powers still residing within her bones, so that whenever Adam says “Isis” he becomes Black Adam once more.
He travels the globe searching for pieces of the amulet, trying to avoid drawing upon Isis’s powers as much as possible. Of course, there’s a bounty out on his head so virtually everyone is trying to hunt him down and kill him, making any hope of being covert practically impossible.
Through his travels there’s an incredibly random scene in a diner in which Adam asks the guy behind the counter what he’s making. What follows is perhaps one of my favorite comics pages ever.
I always figured that when Captain Marvel said he made Adam’s magic word something he would never say, it would be something like “forgiveness” or “regret”. I should have known. This is the quintessential innocent boy, after all. Of course he would make Adam’s new magic word, “Chocolate egg cream”. I laughed way too much at this scene, especially the juxtaposition in the above image of Adam just sitting there as he realizes what has happened while the young boy next to him is in shock. It was a moment of levity that helped break up the otherwise dark and serious comic, and one that was much appreciated.
Back to his old self, Adam retrieves the final piece of the amulet and returns to Fate’s tower, where Faust awaits to perform a spell. Of course, the spell goes awry and Isis isn’t revived, with Adam flying off in despair, believing his love to be lost to him for all eternity.
This is Faust though, and there’s always more than meets the eye. Turns out he switches Isis’s bones with Ralph Dibny’s, and after Adam left he revives Isis to her former glory.
The comic closes with Faust and Isis exiting Fate’s tower, as Adam struggles with his grief. I’m not quite sure what Faust has in plan for Isis at this point. Was she merely a means of escaping the tower? Does he plan on using her as leverage against Black Adam? The future is unclear, but all we do know is that Isis is back, Faust has escaped, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be hell to pay when Adam realizes Faust’s trickery.
So to sum up: Black Adam steals a body, drink a chocolate egg cream, and goes on an around-the-world adventure, while Faust acts in typical “Faust-y” manner, tricking people into doing what he wants. Egg cream aside, it’s pretty typical fare, but all in all a pretty solid comic. Drawing upon numerous past events, this trade feels like a bridge between two storylines, and I’m curious to see where it all leads.
My only complaint: Once he realized his magic word, Black Adam can change the word to be anything he chooses. Um…no, I demand that he has to say “Chocolate Egg Cream” angrily in the middle of a battle. I would pay good money to read that.