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None More Black: Graeme’s second 8/8 book.

Graeme McMillan

“From the pages of 52 and Countdown” announces the cover of BLACK ADAM: THE DARK AGE #1 – although those last three words are missing entirely from the cover, for some reason – and what’s interesting about this first issue is the way that it feels very much like an uncomfortable mash-up of those two books’ styles. From Countdown, there’s the immersion in continuity without setting out what that continuity is for new readers, and from 52, the unexpected twist that makes sense if you do understand the continuity.

Which isn’t to say that the book approaches either of their levels of quality; there’s nothing here that approaches the fun and sense of anything-can-happen of 52, nor the oppressive crush of editorial edict that runs through Countdown; instead, you get something that misses both the highs and lows of both books – This is an entirely Eh piece of uninteresting continuity which somehow manages to offer some detours on the way to its known conclusion. Congratulations, then, to Peter Tomasi, even if I have no desire to see Teth-Adam get himself beaten up to avoid being recognized or see yet more supervillains-as-terrorists stylings.

One of the genuine sadnesses about the book (When you expect very little from a book, it’s almost comforting when it gives you very little after all) is that Doug Mahnke’s art feels less like his work than usual – Maybe it’s Norm Rapmund and Christian Alamy’s inks, or a move towards a new (and slightly more generic) style? – which removes one of the more obvious selling points of the series. The overall effect, when paired with the writing, is a firmly mid-level book that’s intended only for a die-hard pre-sold audience. Which seems rather fitting for a contemporary DC superhero book these days, really.

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