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Black Adam #9
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Black Adam’ #9 deepens the character study

Priest and Eddy Barrows create a rich study of Adam’s past, making for a compelling, yet unsympathetic villain.

Black Adam #9 continues the mystery of gods as Theo Teth-Adam contemplates his past. Priest has intricately woven a powerful character study of the titular hero, and in issue #9, much of that introspection becomes textual.

Black Adam #9 picks up with Teth-Adam recounting his story to the unconscious Malik, still suffering from the virus that had previously affected Adam. The issue’s opening is a beautifully grand battle-sequence. Artist Eddy Barrows does a spectacular job at conveying the scale of an ancient war, while not losing the detail of the main characters. A page of Adam standing over his beaten foes appears appropriately mythic. 

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While some of Black Adam has felt disorienting due to the out-of-sequence storytelling that has become a signature of Priest’s writing, Black Adam #9 sees numerous pieces fall into play as Adam confronts his past. Priest’s writing is top-notch here, tying together religion and philosophy in a way that feels fresh and yet fully fitting to Adam’s character. Brief intermissions provide some much needed humor to what is otherwise a tense issue. Letterer Willie Schubert also does a fantastic job with the word balloon spacing, strengthening the beats in the dialogue.

Black Adam #9

Eddy Barrows’ character work also shines here, capturing the ever-brooding Adam in moments of crisis, providing some amazing facial work even as Adam is masked. Inker Eber Ferreira does a great job bringing out the detail in Barrows’ line art making for a haunting read that doesn’t celebrate the action. Color artist Matt Herms strikes a balance between realism and grit and a naturalistic bombast that works well for the genre. Tonally, Black Adam never forgets that it’s a book about a villain, even in the sequences that feature Adam as hero, and it’s due to the art team that this story is so effective in its grimness.

If there is one piece that seemingly hurts the issue, it’s the arrival of yet more characters to the story. Black Adam already features a dense cast between past and present, so adding more faces at this point feels a bit unnecessary. That being said, Black Adam has been a tightly packed series, so it’s hard to doubt that Priest will tie everything together in the next three issues.

The focus on Adam’s past makes Black Adam #9 an engaging, character-driven read, giving compelling dimension to the villain without redeeming him or making him sympathetic. Priest and Barrows continue to do great work as the series enters the final stretch of its run.

Black Adam #9
‘Black Adam’ #9 deepens the character study
Black Adam #9
Priest and Eddy Barrows create a rich study of Adam's past, making for a compelling, yet unsympathetic villain.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Priest's character work here is a delight.
Eddy Barrows does a fantastic job both with the large scale action and the quieter moments.
The addition of new cast members feels a bit overwhelming.
9
Great
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