This week marks the 10th anniversary of the DC weekly series 52. The celebration started Monday with the release of episode 1 of the Podicus Wrecks podcast. During which, I spend 50 minutes discussing the stories within 52 and some thoughts on the series. The rest of the week, I will be posting more detailed recaps of each of these stories. Today’s story is The Rise and Fall of Black Adam.
As ruler of the nation of Kahndaq, Black Adam proclaims that he will make Kahndaq an example to the world, stopping a suicide bomber in this first speech. Intergang approaches Black Adam to make a deal, but he denies them by killing them, and releasing the girl they had brought to him as offering. In a display of power and desire to show he is a hero that gets results, Black Adam makes an example of the villain Terra-Man by tearing him in half in front of the press at the Kahndaqi embassy.
While meeting with allies, like minded nations in the area, the lady brought in by Intergang, Adrianna Tomaz, interrupts the meeting. Later on, Adam talks with her, and she tries to tell him that his plan won’t work, and will only lead to a war because he’s just creating a separate power block aimed at America. With Adrianna’s guidance, Black Adam’s focus begins to shift more towards humanitarian aid to his people. Adam takes her to the Rock of Eternity, where Captain Marvel is going a little crazy from sitting on the throne and hearing the 7 Sins talk, and wants to give Adrianna the power of Isis contained in an amulet. She takes the amulet, says the words, and this transforms her into Isis. She immediately wants to find her brother.
Black Adam and Isis break up slavery rings, and bring the orphans that they find back to Kahndaq. Adam and Isis are married, with Captain Marvel officiating the wedding. This was the beginning of the Black Marvel Family. Isis is able to soften Black Adam, and he begins trying to show compassion towards his subjects because of her. Black Adam and Isis find her brother at an Intergang brainwashing camp, only he is injured more than what Isis can heal. Black Adam grants Amon some of his power, and he becomes Osiris.
Black Adam flies to China, and informs them that he’s no longer forming a coalition. At a dinner hosted by Dr. Sivana’s wife, she asks Black Adam if he would help find her missing husband. Osiris grows bored with the dinner and storms off. A crocodile storms out of the basement, and hides outside. Osiris befriends him and names him Sobek. Later on, Osiris and Sobek attempt to join the Teen Titans, but Captain Marvel Junior tells him that this isn’t possible at the moment. He needs to help repair Black Adam’s image in the U.S. before he can join. So, the entire family de-power in front of a crowd and the U.S. media, to show that they are just people and not gods.
Amanda Waller doesn’t care, and puts together a Suicide Squad led by Atom Smasher to stop Black Adam. The two teams fight one another, and during the melee, Osiris kills the Persuader because he is attacking Isis. The Black Marvel Family returns to Kahndaq. As they return to Kahndaq, a rain begins, but it is killing the plants. After a week of this rain that is also making people ill to the point of dying, Osiris starts to blame himself for bringing this on to the people.
Osiris continues searching for a way to rid himself of these powers, believing them to be a curse. Sobek mentions that all he has to do is say Black Adam’s name, and he can be free of these cursed powers. Osiris realizes that doing this will cause him to no longer be able to walk, but he considers that his penance for what he has done. He says the name, and becomes Amon again. At that moment, Sobek attacks and kills him.
Black Adam realizes that he again has the power of Osiris within him. Isis and he find Amon’s corpse. Sobek reveals that he is actually Yurrd the Unknown, one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. The plague that Kahndaq was due to their presence. Black Adam and Isis fight them, with Black Adam ultimately killing all but Death. During the battle, Isis died after being saturated with Pestilence’s poison. With her last words, she tells Adam that she was wrong, that the world needed to be cleansed, and to avenge them.
Black Adam learns that the final horseman, Death, fled to the nation of Bialya. Black Adam attacks the country, killing millions of people, until finally Death reveals himself. Black Adam beats him into submission, and demands to know where he came from. Black Adam attacks the compound on Oolong Island, but is taken down by the scientists. The rest of this story continues in the World War 3 story.
To me, this is a very tragic story. Here’s Black Adam, a person fueled by rage, and he finally has a chance to start anew. He has a chance at a new family to fill that void in his life. Then as quickly as it was given to him, it’s immediately torn away from him.
I also feel for Osiris. He didn’t ask for any of his powers, but he was given them without the maturity of being able to handle them. He was also given them without a mentor to show him what it means to have powers. Black Adam, during his recovery process, was in no position to try to mentor and mold a young mind. Osiris just wanted a friend, but has to live with specter of having power given to him by Black Adam. So, instead of a friend, he finds himself with a manipulator in Sobek. It seems like a nice lesson for all involved. First, for those not Osiris, you shouldn’t always judge people based upon the actions of family members, especially when they weren’t around for those actions. Secondly, for Osiris, you can’t lose hope in times of despair. Otherwise, you’ll end up listening to bad advice, and get eaten by a crocodile, or something like that.