OK, here’s another Knight Terrors special two-part’s first part. This one covers Black Adam. Black Adam is, arguably, one of the most complex antiheroes in DC’s pantheon. Surely he has some deep, dark, psychological issues that can be exploited for a good nightmare, right?
Well, maybe not.
Issue: Knight Terrors: Black Adam #1, July 2023
Writer and Artist: Jeremy Haun
The Plot: The world of nightmare reaches Black Adam in Kahndaq!
Commentary: I said a bit in the Knight Terrors: Ravager review that it was a bit disappointing, but I am not sure Ravager is all that well-developed a character to really dig into all that much. Knight Terrors: Black Adam is a somewhat different problem. Oh, the dreams are just as generic, but unlike Ravager, Black Adam is actually a fairly well-developed character. Originally set up as basically an evil version of the Shazam/Captain Marvel character, under the writing of Geoff Johns, back when I still largely liked what he was doing, Black Adam evolved into a more complex antihero. He had great power, and he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, but at the same time, he wasn’t all that evil either. He set down rules, rules from a long since passed era, and he expected people to follow them or else. Plus, he’d do anything to protect his homeland of Kahndaq, a fictional Middle Eastern country where he set himself up as a dictator. His actions made some heroes question their methods and allegiances, but by and large, he was mostly something of a good guy.
He was just really violent and didn’t take kindly to anyone trying to tell him otherwise. It’s one of those things that made casting Dwayne Johnson as the guy something of a problem: Johnson is far too genial a screen presence to be an antihero.
Meanwhile, the comic book version had a new “family” and loved ones. He was capable of great love, but at the same time, had no patience for do-gooder superheroes and their judgmental ways. He was the strongest man on Earth as far as he was concerned. Why shouldn’t he do things his way?
As I see it, Johns had Black Adam as something of a favorite character, one he kept popping into all kinds of stories with varying levels of success. Similar situations occurred with Brian Michael Bendis’s use of Luke Cage and other street-level Marvel heroes or how Kurt Busiek always seemed to pop Hawkeye onto team books.
Anyway, imagine my disappointment where here it’s mostly Black Adam fighting zombies and then seeing a giant crocodile eat his loved ones. Yes, there’s something there with his powers shorting out and a talking cat, but it just seemed rather drab after everything that Black Adam has become since he went from villain to anti-hero. And then there’s the last page reveal, setting up part two, which is either part of the dream or something that isn’t really matching the rest of the Knight Terrors stuff.
Only one way to find out.